Bob is a cradle Anglican, baptized at St. Bartholomew’s, Regent Park, by Father Charles Pashler in 1952. His parents George and Nancy Bettson both served in the Canadian Forces during World War 2. George went on to achieve an MA in history and become a secondary school history teacher for 28 years. Bob was confirmed at All Souls, Willowdale (now Church of the Incarnation) in 1964.
An early formative experience in the church for Bob was being part of the Overseas Work Tour for youth in 1970. Bob went with six other youth to the island of Nevis. He was present during the Christena ferry disaster which cost the lives of hundreds of Nevisians returning from St. Kitts after the Bank Holiday weekend.
That experience with the Anglican Communion was formative for Bob. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, Bob’s first job was as a reporter for a magazine in Edmonton Alberta. It was published by a lay Anglican order, the Company of the Cross. Staff of the magazine lived in a community apartment and worked for a dollar a day. It was then Bob began singing in church choirs as a tenor with the Edmonton Cathedral choir.
Bob moved to Calgary, and in 1981 began his dream job of religion correspondent for the Calgary Herald, a daily newspaper. He was active as a warden and choir member with St. John the Evangelist Church. In 1985 Bob moved to Toronto to work as a staff writer for the United Church Observer, the monthly magazine of the United Church Observer.
After 11 years with the magazine he moved on and entered the process of discernment for ordination, and enrolled in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College. Graduating in 2001 with a Master of
Divinity, Bob was ordained first to the transitional diaconate then to the priesthood by the Rt. Rev’d Barry Hollowell, Bishop of Calgary.
As a priest he has served congregations in four Dioceses: in Didsbury and Calgary, Dauphin, MB (Brandon), Sarnia (Huron) and Bobcaygeon (Toronto) before retiring from fulltime ministry in 2016.
Bob has been editor of two Diocesan newspapers, The Sower for the Diocese of Calgary and the Mustard Seed for the Diocese of Brandon. He has also taken part in two Companion Diocese relationships. In 1990 he travelled with Bishop Finlay to South Korea with a small delegation, then co-chaired the Companionship Committee. In 2002 he travelled to St. Vincent and Grenada as part of the Diocese of Calgary’s Companionship with the Diocese of the Windward Islands.
Bob has been a Rotarian since 2002 and has participated in a number of community choirs, the latest being the Toronto Beach Chorale. He is married to Coline, a retired teacher. Their children are Colin, Duncan Graham and Monica. They have three grandchildren.
Bob comes to Christ Church, Stouffville after completing a nine month interim St. Hugh and St Edmund, Mississauga (where Rev. Jason has just started as incumbent) and a six month interim at St. Bede, Toronto. He remains an honourary assistant at St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, Toronto. He looks forward to serving the parish as it moves forward in this important transition to new pastoral leadership.
While he is at Christ Church he will travel to Minnesota May 13-17 for the final residential week of a course in Intentional Interim Ministry, made possible by a leadership grant from the Diocese’s Our Faith, Our Hope fund.