The Diocese of Keewatin came into being with the ordination of the Rt. Rev. Joseph Lofthouse as it’s first bishop on August 17th, 1902. Prior to that time the territory that it now occupies was part of both the Diocese of Moosonee and the Diocese of Rupert’s Land. At the time of Bishop Lofthouse’s ordination the diocese stretched all the way from the border with the USA in the south to the far reaches of the Arctic in the north. When the Diocese of the Arctic was formed in 1930 the Diocese of Keewatin gave up it’s territory north of Churchill.
The church has been present in the far northern parts of the diocese for longer than the history of the diocese. It was because of Bishop Lofthouse’s fine work as a missionary along the western and southern coasts of the Hudson’s Bay and down into the lowlands of the bay area that he was appointed to be the first bishop of the new diocese.
Two-thirds of the diocese is in First Nation parishes. There are five languages spoken in the diocese: Cree, Oji-Cree, English, Ojibway, and Dene. Many of the clergy and lay people in the diocese speak at least two languages regularly.
There have been nine bishops of the diocese to present – see list below.
Bishops of the Diocese
1902-1921 Bishop Joseph Lofthouse
1921-1938 Bishop Alfred D. Dewdney
1938-1953 Bishop Joseph Lofthouse
1954-1968 Bishop Harry E. Hives
1969-1974 Bishop Hugh Stiff
1974-1991 Bishop H. James Allan
1991-1996 Bishop Thomas W.R. Collings
1993-1996 Bishop Gordon Beardy (Suffragan or Assistant Bishop)
1996-2001 Bishop Gordon Beardy
2001-Present Archbishop David Ashdown