From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: Prominent lay leader John Cannon dies in Florida

Date Mon, 16 Dec 2002 15:31:11 -0500

December 16, 2002


Episcopalians: Prominent lay leader John Cannon dies in Florida

by Jan Nunley

(ENS) A prominent lay leader in the Episcopal Church, John 
Kemper Cannon, died Sunday, December 15, at Fort Myers, Florida, 
after suffering a stroke at his nearby Sanibel Island home the 
previous Sunday. Cannon would have been 70 on his birthday 
December 20. 

An attorney, Cannon held positions of influence and guidance 
with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church for a 
quarter of a century. He served as a deputy to General 
Convention from the Diocese of Michigan from 1976-1991; as 
parliamentarian to the House of Deputies from 1979-2000; as a 
member of the president of the House of Deputies' Council of 
Advice beginning in 1979, and as chancellor to the president of 
the House of Deputies from 1994.

He was a member of Executive Council from 1973-1985 and chaired 
several committees, including Social Responsibility in 
Investment, National Mission in Church and Society, and the 
Location Committee for Episcopal Church Center from 1982-1985. 
He also served on the Joint Nominating Committee for the 
Election of the Presiding Bishop, the Joint Committee on 
Planning and Arrangements for the 1994 General Convention, the 
Committee on the State of the Church, the Standing Committee on 
Structure, the Presiding Bishop's Committee on the Ordination of 
Women, and the Joint Committee on Nominations.

In addition, Cannon served as chair of the board of the Church 
Pension Fund, the Board of Archives, and the Clergy Reflection, 
Education, Discernment and Opportunity (CREDO) Institute.

He held numerous positions in the Diocese of Michigan, and was 
its chancellor emeritus. A member of St. Michael and All Angels 
Church in Sanibel, he served as president of the board of the 
Southwest Florida Episcopal Church Foundation from 1996 to 2002. 

"John Cannon was the quintessential church leader," said the 
Rev. George L.W. Werner, president of the House of Deputies. 
"Yet he always couched his leadership in terms of servant to the 
church. We shall miss him terribly. "

"John was not simply an involved lay person. In many ways, he 
helped to define the ideal of the ministry of the baptized 
faithful," wrote Mark J. Duffy, canonical archivist and director 
of the Archives of the Episcopal Church. "He understood better 
than most of us how important it is to nurture and protect the 
institutional life that binds us in this community, how power is 
a resource to be carefully linked to authority, and if we 
listen, how we can learn from the unique perspective that every 
human being brings to the situation. He practiced this ethic no 
matter if he was speaking about civil rights, the rights of the 
laity, the function of the Audit Committee, or the role of 
General Convention, or in countless other opportunities for 
giving thoughtful advice."

"John Cannon's work and ministries had a profound impact 
nationally on the well-being of clergy and church lay 
professionals and their loved ones and survivors," said the Rev. 
Donald Fishburne, rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Church, 
Sanibel, Florida. 

Survivors include his wife Yolanda, known as "Yo," and his two 
sons and two daughters, all of whom were at his bedside at the 
hospital. There are five grandchildren. The funeral is 
tentatively scheduled for January 10 at Christ Church Cranbrook, 
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where Cannon had twice served as 
senior warden.


--The Rev. Jan Nunley is deputy director of Episcopal News 

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