B.C. priest Archdeacon Clara Plamondon was elected bishop of the Territory of the People, a diocese in British Columbia’s interior, Sept. 16.
Currently the incumbent at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Nanaimo, B.C., where she has served since June 2018, Plamondon was the only candidate standing in the episcopal election. Lay and clergy delegates elected her on the first ballot and the provincial House of Bishops unanimously accepted the result.
Plamondon told the Journal there were two reasons she allowed her name to stand as a candidate. “One was a sense of call recognizing gifts and abilities that I have to offer, which aligned with the opportunity that presented itself in the Territory of the People,” she said. “And I saw the possibility of ministry and service with the people there. That’s what led me to want to be a bishop.”
“I was thrilled and amazed that the people of the territory would so clearly say yes back to me,” the bishop-elect said. “I had chosen to say yes to them, and it wouldn’t be until the election that I realized that they too were saying yes to me.”
Plamondon succeeds Lincoln McKoen, who was elected bishop in January 2020 but resigned and relinquished his exercise of episcopal ministry in June 2021 after allegations of sexual misconduct, which he acknowledged as well-founded.
Archbishop Lynne McNaughton, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of B.C. and Yukon, said she was delighted with the election of Plamondon, with whom she has served on Council of General Synod and for the past two years as prolocutor of the ecclesiastical province—a role in which, she said, Plamondon had given “stellar” service to the church.
“She brings many gifts,” McNaughton said of the bishop-elect. “The provincial House of Bishops is enthusiastic to have her as a colleague as the province continues its work on new ways of sharing ministry.”
A self-described “prairie kid” who grew up and lived in various parts of Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan, Plamondon was ordained as a deacon and priest in the diocese of British Columbia in 2013. She has an MDiv degree from Vancouver School of Theology (VST).
In 2020 she received the VST president’s Thoughtful Engaged and Generous Leadership Award, which recognizes “leading practitioners in the Christian faith.” VST congratulated Plamondon on her election on Facebook, writing, “You have our support and prayers for this new and important ministry.”
The Rev. Kirsten Evenden, deacon-in-charge at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Nanoose Bay, B.C., also congratulated Plamondon on Facebook, writing, “It has been a true blessing to begin my ministry under Clara’s wing as my archdeacon”.
Plamondon said her first priority as bishop is “to build relationships to strengthen community,” reaching out to various communities within the Territory of the People.
“I’m hoping to reach out to the various First Nations that the Anglican territory is situated on, so that I can ask to be welcomed and to have permission to be there as I take on this new role,” Plamondon said. “I think that that will be a model for the kind of work I think is really important for us in the territory.”
The bishop-elect stressed the importance of having Indigenous voices at the table in governance of the Territory of the People, saying she wanted the diocese to build on the role of “pastoral elders who offer support and wisdom and insight teaching, [who] come alongside parishes through ceremony and ritual in the church and outside the church.”
No date for consecration had been set as article was being written Sept. 20. Electoral committee chair Melissa Green said details for the service would be scheduled and announced in the coming weeks.