Bishop Gordon Light was elected in 2004, a time of great transition for the former Cariboo diocese.
Gordon Light, bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), formerly the diocese of Cariboo, announced he will retire, effective Dec. 31.
Bishop Light, who is 63, said he and his wife, Rev. Barbara Liotscos, will be spending more time with family in British Columbia, Toronto and eastern Canada. They have six grown children and four grandchildren.
Also, he said, “I hope to work more on music and just enjoy life.” Bishop Light is a well-known musician who composes (he penned the hymn Draw the Circle Wide, which later became the theme of the 2007 General Synod), plays guitar and sings as a member of a 25-year-old quartet called Common Cup.
Bishop Light has worked in the diocese for a total of 17 years, but his return in January 2002, as administrative assistant to the metropolitan of the area, Archbishop David Crawley, came during a difficult period.
Cariboo, based in Kamloops (about 350 km northeast of Vancouver), had closed its diocesan office as of Dec. 31, 2001, crippled by financial pressures surrounding lawsuits about abuse at the St. George’s Indian Residential School at Lytton, B.C.
Re-constituted as the APCI, the 18 parishes (including 35 congregations) came under the administration of Archbishop Crawley, with pastoral leadership from then-Canon Light. In 2004, Mr. Light was elected bishop suffragan to Archbishop Crawley, with responsibility for APCI.
In 2001, he said, he found “a good spirit,” despite the Cariboo closure and the retirement of then-bishop James Cruickshank. “There was some deep sadness at the loss of Bishop Jim and at not being a diocese, but not despair. (The members) are people with a lot of hope,” said Bishop Light in an interview.
The future of APCI is an ongoing conversation in the area, he said, with possibilities including becoming a diocese again or merging with another diocese, but there are currently no firm plans.
In the past seven years, he has participated in healing work connected with former students of the residential school and their families. “I have listened to stories of healing and of anger, still. I’m astonished at the hospitality the church has received,” he said.
Bishop Light served in Toronto as principal secretary to the primate from 1992 to 2001, was dean of Cariboo and rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kamloops from 1984 to 1992. He also served parish churches in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Kamloops.