Executive Archdeacon John Meade was elected the fifth bishop of Western Newfoundland at a diocesan synod held June 3-4 in Corner Brook, Nfld.
Meade, 44, has been executive officer of the diocese of Western Newfoundland for four years. He said he was “very humbled” to have been chosen to lead the diocese. He was elected on the sixth ballot.
According to Meade, Western Newfoundland is currently undergoing significant demographic changes that involve both out-migration from the region and a movement of people from the often-isolated rural regions to urban centres like Corner Brook.
“Historically, Anglicans are not big on change, but the folks here in rural Newfoundland are realizing that we need to do things a little differently to provide ministry,” said Meade in an interview following the election. One of the priorities in his own episcopate will be raising up local ministers and exploring more shared ministry options, he said.
A greater emphasis on locally-raised vocational deacons is key to the long-term health of the diocese, he said. He underscored the importance of building good relationships between seminary-trained clergy and locally-raised clergy.
As executive archdeacon, Meade has spent the past four years travelling around the diocese and meeting with local parishes to talk about their sustainability. This experience helped him develop a collaborative approach to leadership, one he plans to continue pursuing as bishop.
“Being one with the folks and building up the congregations right from the pew on upwards, as opposed to from the synod office downwards…that is how I see things, and that is just really a continuation of a ministry that I have observed and been a full participant in,” he said.
Raised in Western Newfoundland, Meade attended Memorial University and Queen’s College, receiving his MDiv in 1998, the same year in which he was ordained a deacon and later, a priest. He served in various parishes around the diocese of Western Newfoundland, and, for three years, in the diocese of Central Newfoundland. He became executive archdeacon and assistant to the bishop in 2013.
At the age of 12, Meade was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which he has struggled with for most of his life. Though he is now in remission and no longer suffering the effects of the chronic inflammatory disease, he said it has taught him the importance of maintaining a balance between his work life and his private life. He credits his wife, Kelly, to whom he has been married for 15 years, with supporting him throughout his health struggles.
Meade succeeds Archbishop Percy Coffin, who has served as diocesan bishop since 2003 and will retire later this year. According to Meade, Coffin did not want to announce a retirement date before the election, but he expects the transition to take place in early fall.
A date has not yet been set for Meade’s consecration.