Lynne Samways Hiltz now looking forward to life in Toronto

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Lois Hutchison, left, wife of the outgoing primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, gives Lynne Samways Hiltz a hug after it was announced that her husband, Bishop Fred Hiltz, was elected as the new primate.

Three years ago, Lynne Samways Hiltz vehemently declared, in a casual conversation, that she would never move to Toronto. Her husband, Bishop Fred Hiltz, now primate-elect, at the time had withdrawn his name from consideration in that primatial election, saying he felt he was not ready.

A lot has happened since 2004. Now, she said, “I am very content with Fred letting his name stand. I support him and we are ready.” Ms. Samways Hiltz, 53, known for her bubbly, expressive personality, said there had been both sad and happy changes in her life in the last few years that also influenced her. “I was very close to my sister in Halifax. She passed away last December, but her two daughters are coming to attend school in Toronto,” she said.

Another draw for the Hiltzes is that their son, Nathan, 26, is a jazz guitarist and music teacher in Toronto. “He started with piano and played sax in the school band and when he discovered jazz, that was it,” she said.

Wiping away tears and accepting the congratulations of a stream of people in the aisles of Holy Trinity Church after the election of her husband was announced, Ms. Samways Hiltz said she hopes the church continues to show him the love and support demonstrated by his election. “Fred is very humble. He would never feel he would be worthy (of such a position). He has an awesome sense of responsibility,” she said, adding, “I don’t want the job to kill him.”

Ms. Samways Hiltz said it might not be too much of an adjustment to cope with the travel demands the position will put on her husband. He currently travels a great deal as diocesan bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, she said. “On the fifth day (he is away), I get angry, but if he’s in Canada, I’m not worried. Internationally, I get nervous,” she said.

The Hiltzes have been married 30 years. During his acceptance speech, Bishop Hiltz asked the assembly to pray for him and “for my beautiful bride, Lynne.” Ms. Samways Hiltz’s married life has been home-centred, but she has worked as a librarian, insurance broker and child care worker and currently freelances as a scrapbooking consultant. During the tense hours of the primatial election, she was knitting and drawing.

She is known for her sense of humor and blithe spirit. Three years ago in Regina, during the house of bishops’ meeting that included spouses and the election of primatial candidates, she gave a presentation on how bishops’ workload affects their spouses that had the group in stitches.

Their two Labrador retrievers and cat will make the move to Toronto, she said. “I have no idea where we are going to live – whatever is affordable. I would like Fred to be able to walk to work. I love to walk,” she said, adding that she is looking forward to exploring Toronto art galleries and neighbourhoods such as Kensington Market.

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Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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