Bishop Ronald Ferris
Bishop Ronald Ferris of the northern Ontario diocese of Algoma, who also served as bishop of the Yukon, said he intends to retire, effective Sept. 30, 2008.
“Thank you, Algoma, for what has been a most joyful and productive era in our lives. We will miss you dearly. You have been wonderful friends and co-workers in Christ’s mission,” Bishop Ferris said in a letter to clergy and members of the diocese, which is based in Sault Ste. Marie.
“Jan and I leave feeling loved and supported and we take with us a wealth of joyous memories,” he wrote. “We are deeply appreciative of the prayers, encouragement and friendship we have encountered in every corner of Algoma over so many years
In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Bishop Ferris, who will be 63 in July, said he and his wife Jan are planning to move to the west coast, possibly to the Langley, B.C. area southeast of Vancouver.
The Ferrises have six adopted sons and daughters who are now adults, and four grandchildren (a fifth is due in August). “We have three children in the Yukon, one in Victoria and one in Chilliwack (B.C.). One is in New Zealand and will probably be relocating to the lower mainland (around Vancouver),” Bishop Ferris said.
(Bishop Ferris’ son Ramesh is currently cycling across Canada to raise awareness of polio. The tour is featured in the June issue of the Journal.)
The bishop has no specific plans for the future beyond “just enjoying retirement and having some decompression time and time to reconnect with our family.”
In his letter to the diocese, Bishop Ferris noted that he has led the diocese for 13 years. “Combined with the 14 years I spent as bishop of Yukon, I have now been continuously travelling for 27 years!” he wrote.
Bishop Ferris has been known as a strong conservative voice on the issues surrounding homosexuality. At the 2004 General Synod governing convention, he stood with a group of nine bishops who criticized as “contrary to the teaching of Scripture” synod’s vote to affirm “the integrity and sanctity” of adult same-sex relationships.
Earlier at that synod, Bishop Ferris was a candidate for primate, or national archbishop, of the Anglican Church of Canada in the election that chose Archbishop Andrew Hutchison. (Archbishop Hutchison retired last year.)
A native of Toronto, Bishop Ferris began his working life as a teacher. In 1966 he and Jan moved to the Yukon where he taught and she was a nurse at the Carcross Indian Residential School. A former rector of a parish church in London, Ont., he holds a bachelor of arts, a master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees; he also has two honorary doctorates, doctor of divinity and doctorate of Sacred Theology.
Bishop Ferris said the diocesan executive committee will meet this week to plan an episcopal election for late fall. They will also elect a diocesan administrator to carry out administrative duties in the interim, he said.