|Died||April 25, 2009
San Diego, California, United States
|Occupation||Anglican priest, theologian and professor|
|Known for||Books and teachings on theology|
Early life and education
Toon was born to Thomas Arthur and Hilda Toon in Yorkshire, England in 1939. His younger siblings were Paul, David and Christine.
He attended and graduated from the following schools and colleges:
- Hemsworth Grammar School, near Wakefield, Yorkshire
- Cliff College, Sheffield
- King's College London
- University of Liverpool
- Christ Church, Oxford
After an earlier career as a college lecturer in religious studies, Toon was ordained deacon in 1973 and priest in 1974 in the Diocese of Liverpool, Church of England. He served a short title curacy in Skelmersdale (just over a year, compared with the usual requirement of three years), before taking a post in Oxford as Librarian of Latimer House, the headquarters and library of a conservative evangelical pressure group (subsequently the Latimer Trust, without property, but maintaining its library at Oak Hill Theological College, London) during which time he also served as curate of St Ebbe's, a central Oxford evangelical parish church. In 1976 he became a tutor at Oak Hill Theological College in London, training ordinands, and then from 1982 Director of Post-Ordination Training in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in East Anglia. He returned briefly to parish ministry (Staindrop, County Durham) before moving to the United States of America in 1991. In the last decade of his working life, he served as President and CEO of the Prayer Book Society of the USA, and his life and work were centred in America, although he did return briefly to England, and was for four years the priest-in-charge of the villages of Biddulph Moor and Brown Edge in Staffordshire.
Toon wrote over 25 books, together with numerous booklets, essays and articles. He also engaged in internet authorship and discussion. He was contributing to these topical online discussions up until his death.
Style and beliefs
Toon's work repeatedly stressed the importance of the "Historic Formularies" of the Anglican tradition, defined in the Preface to the Declaration of Assent as "the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons". His work was marked by clarity of presentation and strength of persuasion, attracting praise from supporters and critical attention from antagonists. He often wrote and spoke about the controversies in the Anglican Communion concerning issues of liturgical reform and the ordination of women, on both of which issues he took a strongly conservative line. With the widespread adoption of the new liturgies in the Church of England (Alternative Service Book 1980, and then Common Worship 2000) and similar liturgical resources in other provinces (notably the 1979 revised Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) Toon became a notable spokesman and theological advocate for the strong minority lobby favouring traditionalist views, and the retention of the seventeenth-century liturgies of the (original) Book of Common Prayer.
Although Toon is remembered, particularly in later life, for his association with these controversies, and with the Continuing Anglican movement which arose, particularly in America, out of opposition to reforms, he was also a gifted theologian and biblical commentator, whose work (particularly in earlier life) was of a general nature, not associated with controversy, and widely employed by students of biblical analysis.
He was married to Vita for forty-seven years. Vita graduated from London and Oxford universities. They had one daughter, Deborah, who is married to a naval officer and lives in California. Deborah graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Toon died on April 25, 2009, in San Diego, California. The cause of death was amyloidosis, a rare auto-immune disease, which he had been battling for some months. There was a private family funeral in California followed by a public memorial service organised by the Prayer Book Society of the USA at All Saints' Church, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania on July 24, 2009.
- The Oxford Orations of Dr. John Owen. Ed. Peter Toon. Trans. [from the Latin] supervised by John Glucker. Callington (Cornwall): Gospel Communication. 1971. ISBN 978-0-9501252-1-3.
- The Prayer Book Society of the USA - Articles listing many of those by Dr. Peter Toon
- Published Academic Writings of Peter Toon, 1964-2009