“Cut From the Cloth of Fogo” by Stewart Payne

About the Book...

"Cut from the Cloth of Fogo" is Stewart Payne’s memoir, tracing his humble beginnings on Fogo Island in the 1930s and his journey to becoming one of the most respected Anglican clergymen in Newfoundland and Labrador. With modesty and humour, Stewart describes his early upbringing on Fogo Island, his first trip to the big city to enter Memorial College, his teaching years at Indian Islands and Fogo, and the ministerial calling that put him on the path to a long and rewarding life of humanitarian work.

Stewart’s first pastoral charge was Happy Valley, followed by Bay Roberts and St. Anthony. He went on to become bishop of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland and retired as metropolitan in the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada. Besides his role in the church, Stewart has also been an activist for social issues affecting his congregation. When the cod moratorium was declared in 1992, he was invited to form a coalition with other churches to help unemployed fishermen and plant workers. In partnership with other concerned fisheries organizations, Stewart helped form a committee to reach out to people in distress, to listen to their concerns, and to bring their issues before government.

From his early years in Fogo to his election as metropolitan, Stewart Payne tells his life story as a series of anecdotes involving the people who helped him along the way, including his devoted wife, Selma (née Penney), his equal partner in a lifetime of sharing in other people’s joys and supporting them in times of distress.


About the Author...

Stewart-Payne authorStewart Payne was born at home in Fogo, Newfoundland, in 1932, the tenth of eleven children born to Albert and Hilda Mae (Oake) Payne. Upon graduating high school in 1949, he attended Memorial College in St. John’s to train to become a teacher. His first teaching job was in a one-room school at Wild Cove, Seldom-Come-By, 1949–1950, and he went on to teach in another one-room school on Indian Islands for the year 1950–1951. Two years after he had graduated from St. Andrew’s School in Fogo, he returned to become its principal.

Stewart began performing as a choir member and lay reader for the Anglican Church early in his teaching career. The seed was planted, and in 1952 he returned to St. John’s to study theology at Queen’s College. In 1956, Bishop J. A. Meaden sent Stewart to Happy Valley–Goose Bay as a student minister. His experiences in Labrador during the summer of 1956 assured him that his future was in pastoral ministry.

He graduated from Queen’s College and was ordained as a deacon in 1957 and a priest in 1958. Stewart returned to Happy Valley–Goose Bay and worked as a minister there for eight years, covering the areas of Rigolet, North West River, and Mud Lake. In 1962, Stewart married Selma Carlson Penney of St. Anthony and they started a family in Happy Valley while Stewart continued his work continued there.

In 1965, Stewart and his young family moved from Labrador to Bay Roberts, Conception Bay, where Stewart took over as the new rector at the parish. He worked there until 1970, when he and his family left to serve in St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. In 1978, Stewart was ordained as bishop of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland. He and Selma moved to Corner Brook, where he could better perform his new duties.

While living in Corner Brook, Stewart Payne was elected and installed as metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada, and therefore also became archbishop of Western Newfoundland, a position he held from 1990 to 1997, when he retired. Today Stewart makes his home in Corner Brook.

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