Terrance A. Dance, suffragan bishop of the diocese of Huron announced last week that he will be retiring as of December 31, 2015.
“I think we’re in a process now of moving from the church that was, through the church that is to the church that will be,” he said, “and I think it’s time for me to move aside and let new vision and new energy and the next generation of leadership to move in.”
Dance, 63, told the Anglican Journal that he had made the decision in October of last year, following a four-month sabbatical. “A big part of it is that my wife retired last June…and after a long, long time of being in the church and having my time take me away from my family, I just thought it is time for me to look in different directions and bring my active ministry to an end and spend time with my wife. And I’m fairly excited about that.”
After his retirement, Dance plans on spending time with his daughter in Vancouver and with his new grandchild in London, Ont., and travelling more generally. He also plans to work on contextual Bible studies.
“That, really, has become a passion of mine,” he said, “And I think it’s a way for me to give a gift to the church, to indulge my passion for it, and be able to do that without all the things that drain the energy of bishops today.”
One of the biggest challenges Dance faced in his seven years of episcopal ministry was the declining numbers of parishioners, which, coupled with a general trend toward depopulation outside of urban areas, made operating along traditional parish lines difficult in a predominantly rural diocese.
“It has been just an honour and a privilege and an incredible joy to be a bishop,” said Dance. “I love the work. But by December 31st I will have been in ordained ministry 39 years and eight months. It’s time.”
Dance was elected suffragan bishop on March 28, 2009. Ordained a priest in the diocese of Huron in 1977, Dance served in various parishes around the diocese before becoming rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, in 2001, a post he held until rising to the episcopacy.
He holds a bachelor of arts from London’s University of Western Ontario (now Western University), as well as a master of divinity and a doctor of divinity (juris dignitatis) from its affiliate Huron University College.