St. Stephen’s Mourns and Celebrates the Life of Rev. Dr. Charles Bidwell

With sadness and much celebration of his marvelous life, the community of St. Stephen’s College mourns the passing of Rev. Dr. Charles Bidwell. Charles died peacefully on November 22, 2022, surrounded by his family and loved ones. Charles was a dear friend, spiritual leader, educator, partner, father, and companion to many.

Charles was a much loved and active member of many local communities. He was particularly noted for his faith community leadership at Edmonton’s Metropolitan Community Church, and his decades of work in Edmonton’s 2SLGBTQ+ community (both highlighted by the EdmontonQueer History Project).

Since the early 1990s, Charles was actively involved with St. Stephen’s College. He taught courses at St. Stephen’s on topics of Sexuality and Spirituality, and he coordinated several workshop series for the College and local faith communities. Over a period of more than a decade (2006–2018), Charles was one of a handful of editors who worked to gather together a series of Non-Theistic Liturgy Resources. Charles was a longstanding contributor and leader within the St. Stephen’s community, serving as convenor of the Theological Studies Committee (1997–2021), as a member of the Awards and Honorary Degrees Committee (2005–2022), as a member of the Academic Senate (2001–2021; Chair 2005–2018), and as a member of the Board of Governors (2005–2022).

Standing in the St. Stephen’s courtyard is a sculpture titled, “Disciples” (Wood, Steel, and Paint, 1984). This sculpture was crafted by Charles’s late partner Patrick Morin, and gifted to St. Stephen’s by Charles in Patrick’s memory. The natural elements have begun to age and weather this wooden sculpture, which stands approximately seven feet, erect, and facing northwest. In 2021, Charles expressed the importance that the sculpture remains in the courtyard, engaged in its environment, so that each change of season might shape and form the sculpture just a bit more. “From dust to dust,” Charles remarked about the sculpture and its eventual trajectory. For Charles, the natural rhythms of life carried a sacred, mysterious beauty, with all parts of the life cycle inviting recognition and celebration. The entire community of St. Stephen’s celebrates Charles’s beautiful life. Though the wind and weather will age the “Disciples” for many years to come, the presence of this sculpture in the St. Stephen’s courtyard will forever remind us not only of Patrick, but also of Charles and his impact upon the College’s community. This wooden sculpture will remind the College—just as Charles always did—of the mystery and beauty of Spirit that infuses the natural rhythms and trajectories of life.

A celebration of life will be held at Southminster-Steinhauer United Church (SSUC) on the afternoon of Sunday, December 11th.