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Rev. Hugh A. McNally


Rev. Hugh A. McNally

Rev. Hugh Alexander McNally (1935-2023) 

On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, Hugh Alexander McNally died peacefully and went home to be with Jesus, his Lord and Saviour. He is survived by his beloved wife, Shirley; his children Heather McNally (Trevor), Wanda Campbell (Ian), and John McNally (Catherine); grandchildren: Piper (Christian), Tilly, Esme, Rachel, Nathan (Grace), and Samuel; and great grandchildren, Finn, Joanna, and baby McNally soon to arrive. He is also survived by his brothers: Hazen, John (Judy), and Brian (Hannah), and nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Wallace and Mabel McNally, and his sister Louise.

Hugh was born in Lower Queensbury, NB on March 26, 1935. He grew up on the family farm in Prince William, NB, attending a one-room schoolhouse. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Gordon College in Massachusetts in 1956. The following year, he studied Canadian History at the University of Toronto where he met Shirley Frid. They were married in 1958.

Convinced of a call to ordained Christian ministry, he returned to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he graduated in 1960 with a Master of Divinity. That same year he was ordained by his home church, and, together with Shirley, they were commissioned to serve as missionaries in India with the Canadian Baptist Overseas Mission Board. For the next 14 years, he served there in a teaching and leadership role with churches and pastors. Although a young man himself, he became a mentor to other young leaders, a role that continued throughout his life.

In 1966 and 1967, he completed an additional year of course work with the Hartford Seminary Foundation towards a Master of Arts in the History of Religions. On his return to India, he taught at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Kakinada. He displayed a deep commitment to excellence in theological education and equipping lay persons for ministry regardless of the cultural context. Since returning to Canada in 1974, he participated in a number of leadership events in India.

From 1974 to 2000, Hugh faithfully served as the Senior Pastor of three Atlantic Baptist Churches: Riverview, NB, Grace Memorial in Fredericton, NB, and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. In July 2000, he "retired" after 40 years of missionary and pastoral ministry.

Hugh contributed to the broader life of the Baptist Convention through his gifts of organizational leadership. He led in the re-design of the manual for the Year of Internship for Ordination Candidates. He helped develop a new Lay Pastor’s Training Program and was one of its first instructors. He acted as Consultant to the Convention Council on the development and implementation of a new governance model. He became a special research assistant to the Executive Minister of the Convention from 2005 to 2007. Hugh advised the Convention during the lengthy incorporation process, capping that historic decision in 2010.

With a keen interest in history, Hugh was a highly valued member and chair for several years of the Baptist Historical Committee and the Acadia University Senate Archives Committee. He co-taught courses on Baptist History and Polity with Acadia Divinity College.

In 2009, Hugh became the founding chair of the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Society for Biblical Equality (ASBE). ASBE promotes the biblical message of full equality between women and men to advance the kingdom of God in Atlantic Canada.

Hugh’s ministry continued in his retirement as he was regularly asked to be a ministry supervisor and mentor. The hospitality of his and Shirley’s home has been a source of encouragement for many. In 2011, Hugh was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Acadia.

The family extends their heartfelt thanks to everyone who compassionately journeyed with Hugh as he faced the challenges of Alzheimer’s. The RN’s, LPN’s, CCA’s, custodians, administrators, and the whole Windsor Elms team genuinely cared and modeled the Eden Alternative. Hugh was blessed to have his family physician, Dr. Crystal Todd, and his attending physician at Windsor Elms, Dr. Amy MacDonald. The staff from VON and Senior Home Care by Angels, especially Charlie, helped Hugh stay at home as long as possible.

A funeral service, followed by a reception, will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 22, 2023, in Wolfville Baptist Church. Livestream available. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Acadia Divinity College for a memorial scholarship to be set up to support women studying for pastoral ministry or global mission. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the White Family Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Kentville.

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Service Date
Monday, May 22, 2023
Service Time
11:00 am
Service Location
Wolfville Baptist Church

There will be no visitation, by request

Burial Location
Elm Grove Cemetery, Steam Mill, NS

Requested Charity
Acadia Divinity College (please see the obituary for details)