Our new Archbishop and Metropolitan of Ontario
By now, many of you have heard the news that our Bishop was elected at the recent convocation of Provincial Synod, October 9-12, to serve as Ontario’s new Metropolitan. She will be installed to this office on October 11th during the Synod at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, Primate Fred Hiltz will serve as preacher. She will now be styled as The Most Rev. Anne Germond, Archbishop of Algoma and Metropolitan of Ontario. The proper ways to address her are ‘Archbishop Anne’, ‘Archbishop Germond’, or ‘Your Grace’. The following is her letter to the Diocese about her new ministry:
Dear People of God in Algoma,
Something very unexpected happened at Provincial Synod in Ottawa on the morning of October 10. I was chosen to serve as the new Metropolitan for the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario.
Two years ago I was elected Bishop of Algoma. Since then I’ve had the joy of meeting and spending time with you, worshiping with you, and sharing in moments of great joy and sometimes great struggle or sorrow. My world has increased through travels around our beautiful diocese, and I have come to appreciate even more the wonderful diversity that is Algoma – not just geographically but also in terms of its people.
I am in awe of the ways in which you live into your baptismal callings and serve Christ with such faith and conviction. I love watching the growth arising from the seeds of discipleship, stewardship, reconciliation, and community building that I called us to plant as a Diocese in my Charge to Synod last year. I am excited to see the new ministries that will unfold in the coming years. I count it an enormous privilege to serve as your Bishop.
The news I’m sharing with you doesn’t change anything about my role in Algoma at all. You’ve got me!
One of the items on the agenda of this year’s Provincial Synod was the election of a new Metropolitan for the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. Our present Metropolitan, Archbishop Colin Johnson, who has served our beloved church so faithfully and so well, is retiring at the end of 2018. The Metropolitan is the Senior Bishop of the Province and the President of the Provincial Synod and the Provincial House of Bishops, and Chair of Provincial Council. The Metropolitan presides at the election of all bishops in the Province and at the consecration services of those duly elected. The Metropolitan automatically becomes the Bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee, too.
Before the election, delegates prayed that God would guide our minds, “that we might receive a faithful servant who will care for your people and support us in our ministries.” (BAS pg. 676) We entered into the election in a spirit of prayer, trusting that God would act in our midst. Canon 11 of Provincial Synod provides that “only the Diocesan Bishops of the Province shall be eligible for election to the office of Metropolitan.” All of the eligible Bishops in the Provincial House of Bishops were on the ballot.
When the count from the first ballot came in, I had been elected as the new Metropolitan for Ontario. This development was not something I even considered, as there are many far more capable and senior bishops than me in the ‘House’ who are more worthy of the position than I am. I count each of them as mentors and friends, and there is a great sense of collegiality among us that I know this will continue in the coming years. I am humbled by the honour and by the trust placed in me and I will do everything to support the ministries of the church in Ontario and beyond.
Since the ‘breaking news’ was shared I have received countless emails, text messages, and phone calls of congratulations, and assurances of prayer from across Algoma, and further afield. Thank you, thank you – I am grateful for each note and covet each prayer.
Right now everything feels pretty overwhelming and quite terrifying, and so I am keeping my eyes on Jesus who is my constant friend and companion. I ask you to keep my family in your prayers too as we navigate our way through this new beginning. My darling Colin is amazing and so supportive, and I am grateful for his love every day. Our children, Caitlin and Richard, are now young adults living away from home and this makes it somewhat easier.
Some of you have asked questions about what this means for Algoma and how it will work with me being the Bishop of our neighbouring Diocese of Moosonee. I will continue with all of my duties and responsibilities as usual in the Diocese of Algoma, including parochial visits and the usual meetings that are held in the course of a year. Moosonee Diocese is constituted in such a way that an Administrator, Archdeacon Larry Armstrong, handles the everyday administration. There is an Assistant Bishop, Tom Corston, who travels extensively in Moosonee and does most of the episcopal functions like Confirmations and Ordinations. When Archbishop Johnson was Bishop of Moosonee he spent some time there getting to know the diocese and chairing meetings of Executive Council twice a year, participating in Ordinations and Confirmations as he was able. I will be in conversation with these three men so we can work on how to make things work well for Moosonee and Algoma.
You might be interested to know that two former Bishops of Algoma have been Archbishops for the Province of Ontario – Archbishop George Thorneloe (1915 -1926) and Archbishop William Wright (1955 -1974). I will become the third woman Archbishop in the Anglican Communion and the second in the Canadian Church; Archbishop Melissa Skelton is the Archbishop of British Columbia.
In this time of new beginnings I invite you to join with me in praying for the mission of God’s Church, that we would be one “great company of disciples, together following our Lord Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving him in his mission to the world, and together witnessing to his love on every continent and island.”
You remain in my heart and in my prayers,