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A large crowd came out July 3 to pay their respects to the man who was their bishop for a decade. Archbishop Claude Miller died after a short period of ill health on June 27, one day after his 79th birthday.

Archbishop David Edwards presided at the funeral service, held at Christ Church Cathedral. Dean Geoffrey Hall was the preacher; Bishop Bill Hockin and Canon Albert Snelgrove assisted with prayers and readings. Son-in-law Andrew Cromwell and daughter Jennifer Crouse also read scripture.

Archbishop David spoke at the beginning of the service, recounting how he had been asked in recent days, ‘what is the measure of Claude Miller?’ 

David had visited Claude in hospital a few days before his death, and told those gathered that he was “a man of great faith, personable and concerned.”

He illustrated that point by recounting two things Claude did during that visit. First, Claude “put his hand out and said, ‘Let me shake your hand.’ The second was he asked, ‘How are Blanche and Jack?’”

Blanche and Jack are David’s in-laws.

“That is the measure of the man, one who loved God, loved God’s church, and was deeply concerned with the people God had given him,” said David. 

The Rev. Dr. Jim MacDonald gave the eulogy. Jim met Claude when they both began as students at Atlantic School of Theology in 1985. He recounted how Claude quickly had a gathering of people around him, which often included food.

“In the late afternoon, if you were hungry, Claude had you covered,” he said as he produced three jars of Kraft peanut butter on a small table. “What’s missing is the saltines.

“In Claude Miller, I found an incredible friend, a friend with a similar sense of humour,” said Jim. 
He recounted the many times the two shared both the good and the bad.

“When our family arrived at Nashwaaksis United Church for my mom’s funeral last year, some of the first people we saw in the parking lot were Claude and Sharon,” he said. “Never did I imagine I’d be here one year later at his funeral.”

He ended by saying it was because of Claude that the Anglican Church always feels like his other church home. 

Geoffrey, in his sermon, began by quoting the lines of a song they would soon sing: “Why now so full of heaviness by soul? Why such disquiet deep within my soul?”  (Just As The Deer, hymn 540)

“I probably don’t need to share with you how heavy my heart is today because you are feeling it too,” he said.

He reminded those gathered of his relationship with Claude from 2003-2014, that of executive archdeacon, the “confidante” of the bishop. 

“They were the most challenging, and strangely, some of the most rewarding times,” he said, adding that every day when the synod office doors were locked for the night, the two would hash out the issues of the day.

“Whatever he did, he did so as a human,” he said. “I had to remind him he was the bishop.”

At the hospital during the last few weeks, “I told him he had a nasty habit of walking right up to death’s door and knocking as hard as he could,” said Geoffrey. “I said, ‘someday, Buddy, they’re going to let you in.’”

Geoffrey, quoting Frederick Beuchner, spoke of grace.

“It isn’t something you can get. It can only be given. Grace is a good sleep, good dreams, most tears, the smell of rain, somebody loving you is grace. Loving somebody is grace.

“The grace of God means ‘here is your life. The party is not complete without. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.’ Like any other gift, the gift of grace can only be had if you reach out and take it.

“Rest in peace, my friend.”

The pallbearers were Canon Stuart Allan, Archdeacon Leo Martin, the Rev. Dr. Jim MacDonald and grandsons Sam Cromwell, Will Cromwell and Jacob Dimoff. Honorary pallbearers were Canon David Barrett, Canon Richard McConnell, the Rev. Bob Barry and Dan Crowther.

Thomas Gonder played the organ and directed the choir. The Rev. Keith Joyce played trumpet on several hymns. Two retired bishops, Ron Cutler (Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island); and David Torraville (Central Newfoundland), attended. 

Outside, the clergy formed an honour guard as the pallbearers brought the coffin out to the hearse.
A reception was held at Cathedral Memorial Hall. Cremation took place after the funeral. The committal will be at St. Albans, Sand Hill at a later date.

Claude was 1988 graduate of Atlantic School of Theology, ordained a deacon the same year, and ordained a priest in 1989. He served the Parishes of Kingston and Bathurst, and after retiring, in Fredericton Junction and New Maryland.

Claude was elected Coadjutor Bishop in 2003, and became the nineth Diocesan Bishop later that year. He was also the 22nd Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada from 2009-2014.

Claude is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sharon; daughters Melanie (Andrew Cromwell) and Jennifer (Carl Crouse); three grandsons, two brothers and many nieces and nephews. 

As part of the diocesan coverage of Bishop Claude’s life, if you have a fond memory you would like to share, for publication in the New Brunswick Anglican, please send it to by July 25. 

1.  Clergy form an honour guard as the pallbearers bring the coffin out to the hearse.

2. Portrait of Archbishop Claude Miller among the many floral tributes.

3.  Dean Geoffrey Hall preaches the sermon.

4.  Pallbearers, including three clergy and three grandsons, bring the coffin of Claude Miller to the hearse. 

McKnight photos

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