Unknown-3Rev. Ian Rennie – Obituary

Rev. Professor Ian S. Rennie, one of the outstanding Canadian church historians of the Twentieth Century, passed away on October 2nd in Vancouver, surrounded by his four children. Ian grew up in Elim and Bethesda Chapels, Winnipeg, joining Knox Presbyterian Church Toronto, under the ministry of William Fitch in 1951. Following a staff position with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, he did theological studies at Fuller Seminary and Knox College. His graduate work in history was at the University of Toronto where he received an M.A. (1959) and a Ph. D. (1963) with his doctoral thesis titled “Evangelicalism and English Public Life, 1823-1850”. Appointed an ordained missionary to Petawawa Ontario in 1961, he was called three years later to Fairview Church, Vancouver, where he served with great acceptance. He was appointed a lecturer at Regent College Vancouver in 1973. In 1981 he became Dean of Tyndale Theological Seminary, Toronto, until retirement in 1996. On news of his death Professor Mark Noll of Notre Dame University described him “an encouraging, but also discerning, historian.” Ian had warm pastoral gifts and his friendship and wise counsel were valued by many in The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Ian’s wife Leonore predeceased him in 2009. His brother William, the well-known Winnipeg businessman and philanthropist, died the week before. Ian is survived by his four children: Mardythe Hewitt (Gary), Catherine (Brenda Walsh), Scott (Paula-Mae), Jillian (Andrew Strachan) and his four grandchildren: Marc and Liane Hewitt and Collin and Emma Rennie. The memorial service is to be on Wednesday October 21st at 7pm at Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church, 2733 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6N 3C5. Rev. Martin Baxter will be officiating. A reception will follow the service. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fairview Presbyterian Church or The Alzheimer Society.


  1. I owe my eternal salvation to the life, death and resurrection of our only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
    But the human agent through whom God brought me into his marvellous light was Ian Rennie. A pillar of a man – physically, mentally and spiritually. Under his preaching the Word of God became the most beautiful book on earth, and under his faithful preaching the day came when all of life came to this singular, eternal question of ‘who is Lord of my life’.

    His sermons were long, I think, but it seemed like they only lasted minutes, ….. they were so gripping.

    Ian Rennie was a giant of a man but Heaven had plenty of space to welcome him Home.