Bishop Anthony Burton of Saskatchewan has been elected chair of the Council of the North, succeeding Archbishop John Clarke, who ends his three-year term in June.
In an e-mail to the Anglican Journal, Bishop Burton said his first order of business would be “to follow through on some of the work that is already underway.” This includes reviewing the criteria by which the national support grant of more than $2 million a year is divided among member dioceses “to take into account changes in circumstances and patterns of ministry,” he said. The Council of the North – a grouping of financially-supported dioceses – includes the Arctic, Athabasca, Brandon, Caledonia, Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Keewatin, Moosonee, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon and a group of parishes in the central interior of British Columbia.
“We are in the middle of a promising strategic plan, and are exploring some fresh approaches to stewardship development in indigenous and First Nations parishes,” Bishop Burton added.
He said one of the challenges that the ministry in the North faces is youth evangelism. “Many of the communities consist predominantly of children and teenagers, so I hope the council can provide some support to its dioceses in this respect too.”
The council, which administers the Anglican Church of Canada’s grant for northern mission, meets twice a year to share information about the unique challenges faced by smaller ministries in the north.
When he was elected in 1993, Bishop Burton, then 34, was the youngest bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion and the youngest Canadian bishop in the 20th century.
He was ordained a priest in the diocese of Nova Scotia, where he served in two parishes on Cape Breton Island.
Bishop Burton studied at the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University and Oxford University.
He and his wife, Anna, moved to Prince Albert, Sask., in 1991 where he served as dean and rector of St. Alban’s Cathedral. He has been studying Cree, to help him minister to 65 per cent of parishioners and half of the active clergy who are native people.