Algoma bishop becomes metropolitan of Ontario

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“Christ is our unity, and I think that alone will draw us closer together as a people,” says Archbishop Anne Germond, installed October 11 as metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario. Photo: Contributed

Almost two years to the day after being elected bishop of the diocese of Algoma, Anne Germond has been installed as metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario.

Germond, who was elected on the first ballot at a provincial synod in Ottawa October 10, was installed as metropolitan—senior bishop of the province—at Ottawa’s Christ Church Cathedral the following evening.

As metropolitan, Germond will become the third woman in the Anglican Communion to have the title “archbishop,” and the second in Canada after Archbishop Melissa Skelton, who was made metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon last May. She will serve as president of the province’s synod and its House of Bishops, chair of its provincial council and bishop of the diocese of Moosonee, while remaining bishop of the diocese of Algoma.

Germond succeeds Archbishop Colin Johnson, who is also bishop of Toronto and Moosonee. Johnson announced this September his intention to retire as bishop at the end of 2018, and to step down as metropolitan at this month’s synod.

“I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed by what seems to be such a huge responsibility that has been given to me by the church,” Germond said in an interview a few hours before her installation ceremony. “And I’m feeling so honoured to be elected to this position. There are so many wonderful excellent bishops in the provincial house and I’m a very new bishop…so I feel very undeserving of the honour.”

Germond was elected bishop of the diocese of Algoma October 14, 2016.

Germond said her first priority as metropolitan would be to call the people of the ecclesiastical province to ponder their identity as children of God, and the centrality of Christ in the church.

“We’re not a people who gather around the archbishop, or who gather around a priest—we gather around Christ, and we gather around Christ’s gospel,” she said. “I really want us to think about that, and what that looks like as a province, because Christ is our unity and I think that alone will draw us closer together as a people.”

Germond said she also wanted to prioritize relationship-building. She said she admired Johnson and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, for being especially engaging and inviting conversation, and aspired to follow their example. But she also wanted, she said, to foster the growth of relationships among the dioceses in the province.

“I think there tends to be in our church generally a lot of ‘siloing’…so I think as an ecclesiastical province we need to—and it’s already happening—start to look beyond the geographical boundaries of our own dioceses and how we might be much more in relationship with each other.”

Where there are theological differences between Anglicans in the province, Germond said, she wanted to encourage a “spaciousness” in their conversations with one another—a sense of mutual consideration that would allow them to continue to think of each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

She also, she said, hoped to celebrate and encourage the ministries being undertaken by the dioceses and congregations in the province that are “changing lives in our communities”—work with refugees and homeless people, for example.

“The church is no longer just a building, it’s no longer just a machine for baptism and weddings and funerals, but it’s really becoming a place where lives are transformed,” she said. “I think more and more the church needs to find its voice again. It’s already happening, and I’m excited to be part of it.”

The ecclesiastical province of Ontario covers most of the territory of the political province plus part of western Quebec. It includes the dioceses of Algoma, Huron, Moosonee, Niagara, Ontario, Ottawa and Toronto.

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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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