Victoria Matthews, a Canadian Anglican who once served as bishop of Edmonton, is stepping down as bishop of Christchurch in the Anglican Church in Aoteaora, New Zealand and Polynesia.
According to an ACNS story, dated Monday, March 19, Matthews announced she would be resigning May 1 after discerning through prayer that God wanted her “to lay down this particular position of leadership.”
In a statement to her diocese, Matthews said, “I’m not retiring and I’m not in ill health, I am merely following where my Saviour is leading me, wherever that may be.”
Days later, her name appeared on the list of candidates for the diocese of Toronto’s episcopal election scheduled June 9.
She said it had been an “extraordinary privilege” for her to serve as bishop.
“This beautiful diocese has been through many challenges brought about by earthquakes, wind, fire and floods,” Matthews said. “But through it all, people have been their best selves by helping others, working together and finding new ways of doing things.”
In 2011, an earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, partially destroying its cathedral.
In November 1993, Matthews became the first woman to be elected a bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada, when she was elected suffragan bishop in the diocese of Toronto. She served in that role from 1994 to 1997. She was elected to lead the diocese of Edmonton in 1997, becoming the first female diocesan bishop in the Canadian Anglican Church.
In 2004, she would have been the first woman nominee for primate, but withdraw her name from the ballot after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She became a candidate for the primatial election in 2007, and finished a close second behind Archbishop Fred Hiltz.
Later in 2007, she announced she would resign as bishop of Edmonton, and was elected bishop of the diocese of Christchurch in February 2008.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information that Bishop Victoria Matthews has let her name stand for the diocese of Toronto’s episcopal election scheduled June 9.