Minister Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Phillip Hewett

A Celebration of the Life of the Rev. Dr. Phillip Hewett, Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, will be held at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, March 23, 2018, beginning at 1:30 pm. A reception will follow the service.

Phillip Hewett,The Rev. Dr. Phillip Hewett, Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, died Saturday, February 24, 2018. He suffered a massive stroke on Tuesday, the 20th and never regained consciousness. His children Daphne and Barton attended him in his last days in the hospital.

Unitarian ministers of the BC Lower Mainland cluster saw him just days before his stroke: he was sound of mind and body, and was so pleased that a commemorative booklet containing tributes and a selection of his sermons had been published and presented to him at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver on the occasion of his 93rd birthday, February 10th.

Sincerely, Rev. Steven Epperson


Please share your memories of Rev. Hewett as well as biographical details about his enormous contributions to our community and the larger world.

Photo credit: Vancouver Courier and Dan Toulgoet :



Phillip Hewett has been minister emeritus since 1991; prior to that he was senior minister of the congregation for 35 years. Born in England, where he received the bulk of his education and training for the ministry, he holds the following degrees:
BA, Oxford University, 1949
MA, Oxford University, 1951
STM, Harvard University, 1953
STD  (honoris causa), Starr King School for the Ministry, 1969

He served as assistant minister at the Unitarian Church of Montreal (1953-54) and as minister of the Ipswich Unitarian Congregation in England (1954-56) before coming to Vancouver in 1956 as parish minister. After his retirement in 1991, he served as interim minister at the Unitarian Church of Victoria (1991-92) and has had shorter-term appointments with the Unitarian fellowship in St Catharines, Ontario, Auckland, New Zealand and Adelaide, Australia.

He has traveled widely, visiting Unitarian movements in various parts of the world, and been active in the International Association for Religious Freedom and the the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, as well as holding responsible positions in the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian Universalist Association (which at that time included the whole of North America in its membership). In 1992 he was the recipient of the UUA’s Annual Award for Distinguished Service.

At a local level, he has been involved in many community organizations, particularly those working in interfaith relations, family services, education, peace, and environmental concerns. He and his wife Margaret, who died in 2006, have two children and four grandchildren. He is author of a number of books and other writings. Several of his books can be found in the congregation’s library which is open on Sunday mornings until 1 pm.

Two of his many writings are posted on the Canadian Unitarian Council website:

More details about Rev. Hewett’s career:

25 September 2016 - Why We're Here And Not Someplace Else Pt3 (377.2 KiB)

Odyssey, Presented at the Unitarian Ministerial Fellowship Autumnal Conference, September 2015:

ODYSSEY-Rev Phillip Hewett (160.5 KiB)

Phillip Hewett - A Spiritual Odyssey - Reflections of Rev. Hewett Collected by Stanley L. Tromp (467.4 KiB)

Contributions to Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography

A History of the Unitarian Movement (

A History of the Suzuki Elders

Rev. Hewett was founding president and honorary director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.