Archdeacon David Edwards was elected as coadjutor bishop for the diocese of Fredericton at a synod on May 10. Bishop-elect Edwards was elected on the fourth ballot. There were five other nominees.
“It’s a great opportunity to serve, but also a daunting opportunity,” Edwards told the Anglican Journal.
Edwards has been serving the diocese as parish development officer since 2011 and has also been acting dean of St. Andrews. Prior to that, he was the archdeacon of Saint John (since 2010) and rector of St. John’s (Stone) Church (since 2002).
He originally came to Canada in 1998 from the Chelmsford diocese in England, where he was ordained in 1996 and had served as bishop’s adviser in evangelism, mission and education minister for Ongar deanery and incumbent at St. Mary High Ongar with Norton Mandeville. He interrupted his PhD work on “The Proclamation of the Christian Gospel in a Post Modern Culture” at the University of Kent at Canterbury to come to Canada, where he became principal of Taylor College of Evangelism, the Canadian Church Army College in Saint John. During that time he served as eucharistic minister at St. James Broad Street and later as interim minister at St. John’s (Stone) Church.
Edwards said a highlight of his ministry at the Stone Church was “making much more contact with the folks who live around and about the church, [who] are primarily people who are on low incomes, and we saw tremendous growth there.” He noted that the church offered services such as laundry facilities for people who otherwise didn’t have access. “A lot of people who came to us found faith in Jesus as a result of being there and were able to go into Bible study group and that kind of thing, and so that was really very encouraging,” he said.
As a diocese, Edwards said the biggest challenge “is having to rethink how we do ministry with the resources we have.
Asked about his vision for his new ministry, Edwards said, “Where we begin is with Jesus, and unless we begin there we might as well not begin anywhere. We work from that in order to see our churches reach into our communities and to have an opportunity to declare the good news of the kingdom in word and action and in new and innovative ways.”
Edwards is now enrolled in the doctor of ministry program at Acadia College of Divinity.
Archbishop Claude Miller, who has been diocesan bishop since 2003, will retire on June 23, his 70th birthday. Edwards was elected as a coadjutor bishop and once consecrated, will automatically succeed Miller as diocesan bishop.
Editor’s note: Quotes from Bishop Edwards were added to the original version of this article.