Rev. David Torraville
After a one-year delay, the diocese of Central Newfoundland, in an electoral synod held September 9-10, finally chose a new bishop: Rev. David Torraville.
Last year the synod was unable to elect a bishop since no candidate received more than two-thirds of the vote after 11 ballots; Mr. Torraville, who was also a candidate then, was in deadlock with Rev. John E. Watton, of the parish of Badger’s Quay/Pool’s Island.
At this year’s synod, held at Holy Trinity Parish, in Grand Falls-Windsor, Mr. Torraville was declared the new bishop after he received 26 votes from the clergy and 62 from the laity on the third ballot. (He only needed 24 votes from clergy and 50 from the laity to win.) He bested two other candidates: Rev. Perry Cooper of the parish of Lewisporte and Rev. Michael Li of St. Alban parish, Grand Bank.
“It’s overwhelming and humbling,” said Bishop-elect Torraville, reacting to his win. “Oddly enough, it’s like asking your wife to marry you and she says, ‘yes,’ and you wonder, ‘Oh my goodness, am I able to?'” Bishop-elect Torraville, who has worked as executive officer of the diocese at the central office in Gander for nearly five years, said he considers providing pastoral care an important priority for Central Newfoundland.
“Our diocese is very much a rural diocese. It’s a place of incredible blessing. But we’re in a difficult time right now. Young people are leaving because they feel there are no opportunities here,” he said in an interview with the Anglican Journal. He added that the “disintegration of culture, community and family” has also been distressing for many. “We grew up in a time when grandchildren could simply go across the street to grandma for a cookie but now it has changed considerably. That change is a terrible loss and we have to be there for people.”
He added: “We’re a good-news people and a lot of our churches need a great deal of good news. We need to provide hope and stability; we have to be there to nurture and provide spiritual comfort.”
Bishop-elect Torraville received a bachelor’s degree from Memorial University (1978) and a master of divinity degree (1985) from Queen’s College, both in St. John’s, Nfld. In 1994, he completed his course work and qualifying exams for a doctor of ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, and became a fellow in pastoral leadership and development at the same university in 1999.
He has served as rector of the parish of Gander and the Cathedral of St. Martin from 1992 to 2000, as assistant priest of the parish of Gander from 1989 to 1992, and as deacon in charge and later, rector of the parish of Twillingate from 1985 to 1989. He was a teacher in Labrador before he was ordained a deacon in 1985 and a priest in 1986.
Prior to his election, Bishop-elect Torraville was a member of the diocesan joint committee, chair of the health and community regional pastoral board, and a member of the diocesan executive committee, among others.
He is married to Karen Flemming of Brookfield, N.S., and they have two children, Paul and Catherine (who is a member of the national church’s eco-justice committee).
He is the son of a retired Anglican priest, Canon Arnold Torraville, and Mrs. Nita Mesher Torraville. The bishop-elect will be consecrated on St. Andrew’s Day on Nov. 30 at St. Martin’s Cathedral.