Privett re-elected metropolitan of B.C. and Yukon

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Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, gives a presentation on the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon in September 2015. Photo: André Forget
Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, gives a presentation on the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon in September 2015. Photo: André Forget

Archbishop John Privett, who has served as metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon since 2009, has been unanimously re-elected for another seven-year term.

Privett, who has also been bishop of the diocese of Kootenay since 2005, was elected at a meeting of the province’s electoral college in Vancouver September 16, Canon Randall Fairey, prolocutor of the province, told the Anglican Journal in an emailed statement. Privett’s current term is set to expire September 26 of this year.

All diocesan bishops were eligible to run, but none stepped forth, Privett said.

“For various personal reasons, each of them decided they wouldn’t let their name stand, so…my name was the only one on the list,” he said in an interview. “As you can imagine, it went fairly smoothly and quickly.”

A formal vote was held, and all 22 votes cast were for Privett, Fairey said, with no abstentions.

The electoral college is made up of the province’s six diocesan bishops (the bishops of New Westminster, Kootenay, British Columbia, Yukon, Caledonia and The Territory of the People, formerly APCI) and the members of the provincial executive council.

For the first time this year, Fairey said, online voting was permitted, thanks to the passing of a council resolution last May, allowing it for members unable to attend in person. Six members voted online and 16 in person.

One of the challenges of overseeing the province, Privett said, is its considerable diversity-geographical, theological (“We stretch the gamut of perspectives in the church,” he says) and financial.

Much of what he wants to accomplish in his next term is the completion of work begun in his first-especially in the area of increasing collaboration across the province.

“My priorities haven’t changed a lot since last week,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to build relationships across diocesan and regional boundaries, and so for the last couple of years we’ve been working at partnerships. And even though we are diverse, the question is always, ‘How can we support each other in a common mission in our local contexts?’ ”

The province is planning a consultative meeting of its bishops and executive officers for next year, following up on a similar meeting a few years ago, he says. It also has task forces working on issues such as a common policy of safe church practices. It also hopes to tighten its relationships with the youth-led British Columbia and Yukon Anglican Youth Ministry.

Born in Saskatoon but raised in Whitehorse, Privett earned a master of divinity degree from the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad and a doctor of ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He also holds a master of education degree from the University of Alberta, according to a biographical note on the website of the diocese of Kootenay.

Privett was ordained priest in 1982 and has served in parishes in Alberta and British Columbia. He is provincial ACPO (Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination) bishop and sits on the shared ministries committee of the national church. Privett was also a member of the Commission on the Marriage Canon.

In an Anglican Journal profile published after his 2009 election, Privett, the son of an archdeacon who served in the parish of Christ Church, Whitehorse for 50 years, describes himself as a “child of the rectory” whose life had been a “winding journey.” It involved some inner struggle, for example, in his younger years about whether to choose lay or ordained ministry-a struggle, he said, that was followed by a deepening of his sense of vocation.

The role of the metropolitan, Privett said, is evolving and now includes not only constitutionally-mandated tasks such as chairing the provincial House of Bishops and synod, but also trying to strengthen the church’s unity and represent its breadth.

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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