A master storyteller in the East Coast tradition, Rev’d Ed Lewis is curt and humble when he introduces himself. The truth is he has had plenty of titles during his five decades as an Anglican minister. “In Edmonton, I was Canon, in Saskatoon I was Archdeacon,” recalls Lewis. “Here I’m just plain Ed.”
One of the honorary assistants at Christ Church Cathedral, Rev’d Lewis is presiding at the 9.15 service on Sunday May 27. The same weekend, he marks the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 1968.
He met challenge and adventure in his Anglican church career, earning praise for his achievements. Born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, he graduated from Memorial University with an arts degree in religious studies before attending Queen’s College in St. John’s to earn his divinity degree. Then, newly wed to Phyllis, he was sent to a challenging first assignment to Battle Harbour, Labrador. Lewis had to learn some boating skills as he was expected to make 32 regular stops to remote communities along the Labrador coast. He made the trip by snowmobile in the winter. “I learned how to be self-reliant pretty quickly,” he said.
His next Newfoundland postings were Burgeo and Stephenville, where he helped build a new church. Then he moved on to parishes in Edmonton, St. Albert and Saskatoon before arriving in Victoria at St. Michael and All Angels, Royal Oak. He no sooner retired in 2007 than he was called on to cover an interregnum and fill in as minister several times, most recently at St. Mary’s, Oak Bay.
Lewis has pursued another complementary vocation in addition to the ministry – journalism. He earned his first dollar helping his grandfather, publisher of the Western Star newspaper in Corner Brook. Young Lewis learned how to run the presses and set lead type. Later in his career, he had added new skills as computers transformed the industry, using software to lay out the pages of news. He edited several diocesan newspapers and served on the national communications committee. He has always been an eagle-eyed proofreader, and he chuckles at the typo that didn’t get past him on one occasion. The typist’s headline had the word “Satan” instead of “Saint.”
Now he balances Christ Church Cathedral duties with hobbies: weekly golf games, photography and stamp collecting. In an increasingly secular world, Lewis explains the importance of faith in his life. “Science tells us the how, and religion tells us the why,” he said.