Lincoln McKoen elected bishop of Territory of the People

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McKoen will succeed Barbara Andrews, who has served the Territory of the People as suffragan bishop since 2009. Photo: Contributed

An Ontario-born priest with a background serving in parishes in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia will be the next bishop of the Territory of the People—and the first elected since the territory gained formal status as a diocese.

Archdeacon Lincoln McKoen, currently rector of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Campbell River, B.C., was elected on the fourth ballot at an electoral assembly held January 25 at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Kamloops, B.C. On May 8, McKoen will succeed Andrews, who has served the Territory of the People as suffragan bishop since 2009.

Reached by email, McKoen said he found it “overwhelming” to have been elected bishop.

“When you let your name stand and fill out the profile information, it gives a good snapshot of who you are, but after that point you are totally in the hands of the Holy Spirit working among the electors,” he said. “I was quite humbled at the results of the first and then subsequent ballots. It’s a massive, sacred trust that is placed on me by God and the people of the Territory.”

McKoen said his first desire and need was to get to know the territory’s people, including the Secwépemc first people, many of whom live there.

“Being from outside of the Territory, I need to work to earn everyone’s trust and to get to know each parish, pastor and congregation,” he said. “I also wish to begin to work on my personal relationship building with the Secwépemc people. All of this takes time and openness.”

The territory’s forerunner, the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI), was headed by a suffragan bishop under the supervision of the metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon. But in November 2015, the Council of General Synod approved a resolution granting it the status of a diocese, with the right to elect its own bishop through its own nomination and electoral process.

“It’s a historical moment in the church, because we’re a new entity electing our very first bishop,” Suffragan Bishop Barbara Andrews told the Anglican Journal.

According to the website of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, McKoen was born and raised in Ontario, and joined the Anglican Church while studying at Dalhousie University. He completed his master of divinity degree at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College in 2002, after which he served parishes in Labrador, Ontario and B.C. His wife Tanya is also a priest. McKoen is interested in mystical theology, and is a member of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, which aims to foster links between the Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian traditions.

Last June, Andrews announced her plans to retire at the end of 2019, but at the request of Archbishop Melissa Skelton, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, she remains functioning as bishop suffragan until the new bishop has been elected and consecrated.

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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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