Toronto area bishop announces her retirement


Bishop Ann Tottenham, 64, who brought career experience in education to the Toronto episcopacy, will retire on Aug. 31, 2005.

“This has not been an easy decision for me to make because, for the most part, I have enjoyed the challenge and fulfillment of episcopal ministry,” said Bishop Tottenham in an article on the diocesan Web site. “On the other hand, I feel that I have given what I have to give as an area bishop in the diocese of Toronto and it is time for new leadership.”

Diocesan bishop Colin Johnson, citing her “passionate concern for meaningful faith,” said he received her resignation with great regret. He also mentioned her “brilliantly wry sense of humour.” Bishop Tottenham’s quips and occasional barbs often punctuated meetings of the Canadian house of bishops. Recently, she criticized the idea of retired bishops ministering to conservative parishes outside their dioceses that are upset about liberalizing church attitudes toward homosexuals. She mused aloud about becoming a “flying” bishop who would minister to liberal parishes upset with conservative bishops.

Bishop Tottenham became the second female bishop in the Canadian Anglican church in 1997, when she was elected suffragan (assistant) bishop of Toronto, and led the Credit Valley area west of Toronto. Born in Kingston, Ont., she earned degrees at the University of Toronto, Trinity College and Union Theological Seminary in New York. From 1981 to 1995, she was head of the Bishop Strachan School, a private girls school in Toronto. She is single.

Bishop Johnson said he does not expect an election for a new suffragan bishop until 2006. The diocese had four suffragans in addition to the diocesan bishop. Bishop-elect Philip Poole will take over the Credit Valley area and Bishop Johnson has distributed the deaneries in another area among the existing bishops.


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  1. Bishop Tottenham ,
    Her great gift to her girls when she was head of BSS was that she had faith in her girls. In the case of my youngest of 8 children, a super athlete, Rev Tottenham allowed her to leave school for required training as a skier for the Ontario junior development team. This meant missing a lot of school. It only pushed this girl to the best she could in everything. Today with 3 excellent degrees behind her ,B.A. Williams college,Sciences Johns Hopkins and MD Dartmouth University and Masters in teaching OISE. Today she is a physician on staff at Toronto Western Hospital. Thanks to a very wise woman .
    We are so grateful for your wisdom Bishop Tottenham.
    Marcia Unger


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