Nova Scotia/PEI elects Ronald Cutler as suffragan bishop

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Bishop-elect Ronald Cutler

The diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on May 23 elected Archdeacon Ronald Cutler, who is rector of St. John the Evangelist in Lower Sackville, N.S., as suffragan or assistant bishop.

He was elected on the third ballot with 170 lay votes and 98 clergy votes, out of 279 ballots cast. The post had been vacant since Bishop Susan Moxley, who had been serving as suffragan since 2004, was elected last October to lead the diocese.

In a brief telephone interview with the Anglican Journal after his election, Bishop-elect Cutler said his first priority will be “to get to know more of the diocese, get to know the people and their concerns.” Although he has been a priest in the diocese for 17 years, his work has been concentrated at churches on Cape Breton Island (which is part of Nova Scotia) and in the Halifax area, he noted.

The Halifax-based diocese, founded in 1787 and the oldest Anglican diocese in Canada, includes 111 parishes, comprising 256 congregations.

Bishop-elect Cutler, who is 49, wrote in material prepared for the election that “the church has been a place where I have been comforted and challenged by God for my whole life. It has also been a place where I have been called to use my gifts ever since I was a young person.”

A bishop, he wrote, places “the struggles, the challenges and the joys of the faith communities in the context of the greater story found in the life of Jesus.” However, the office also contains a certain amount of tension, acknowledged then-Archdeacon Cutler: “He or she walks a fine line in protecting those signs, symbols and activities that have long provided us with comfort and a sense of belonging and at the same time providing leadership in keeping the message of the Gospel relevant to a changing world.”

Bishop-elect Cutler was ordained to the priesthood in 1981 and earned a bachelor of theology degree at McGill University in 1983. He began his career in 1981 in the diocese of Central Newfoundland, where he served the parishes of Twillingate and Smith’s Sound.

Although he grew up in Montreal, he had connections with Nova Scotia, where “three sets of aunts and uncles” lived and where he spent time in the summer. He served the parish of Trinity, Sydney Mines, N.S. and the churches of St. Peter and St. John in Baddeck from 1991 to 1996. He joined St. John the Evangelist in Lower Sackville in 1996. He has also served on a number of regional, diocesan and community committees. In the diocese, he is a member of the bishop’s advisory council and is on the leadership team for the annual vocations conference.

His leisure pursuits include reading, gardening and cross-country skiing. He is married to Marianne Blair-Cutler and they have a daughter, Victoria, who is 20 and a son, Stephen, who is 18.

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

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