Archbishop Bruce Stavert
The diocese of Quebec will elect a co-adjutor bishop this fall to succeed Archbishop Bruce Stavert, diocesan bishop, when he retires in early 2009. The election will take place at a diocesan synod in Quebec City Oct. 11-14.
A search committee has been appointed to begin the process of “discerning the qualities and attributes being sought in Quebec’s next bishop,” said the diocese in a statement.
In 2004, he was elected metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical (church) province of Canada, which includes seven dioceses in Quebec, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador.
A bilingual native of Montreal, Archbishop Stavert became the 11th bishop of Quebec, the Anglican Church of Canada’s second oldest diocese (after Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island), in 1991.
“I turn 69 in April of 2009 and we only have synod every two years. I intend to retire then and not wait until I reach the mandatory retirement age of 70,” said Archbishop Stavert in an interview. ‘The decision to elect a co-adjutor bishop a year ahead is a little unusual. But we’ve been doing some strategic planning (in the diocese) and looking at new growth models. We came to a decision that the bishop of Quebec has to travel in a large area and so it would be sensible to have somebody to assist in his work so that the bishop can travel more than he’s (been) able to.”
(A co-adjutor is an assistant bishop elected with the right to succession.)
Archbishop Stavert described his years as a bishop as “wonderful” and “memorable.” He cited three major challenges faced by the diocese: the huge territory that it covers, the declining number of people and parishes, and responding to the needs of French-speaking Anglicans.
Long distances between parishes meant seeking ways to “involve the people in the organization and life of the synod,” said Archbishop Stavert. “We’ve begun to do some things more regionally.”
On shrinking congregations, he said: “Before I became bishop, we had a smaller number of people and parishes. Twenty to 25 years ago, there was a large exodus of English-speaking people. That has slowed down but it means we have small parishes … not as many young people.” While the situation is not unique to the diocese, he said, “we’re doing some strategic planning to focus mission more closely.”
The diocese has also established a non-geographical French-speaking deanery to bring francophone Anglicans together. “We now have several congregations that are partly or totally French in services.”
Ordained as a priest in 1965, Archbishop Stavert received a bachelor’s degree at Bishop’s University, in Lennoxville, Que., and a bachelor of sacred theology and a master of theology at Trinity College, University of Toronto, which later granted him an honourary doctorate in divinity. He served as dean and rector of St. Albans Cathedral, diocese of Saskatchewan; chaplain at Bishop’s University and Trinity College, incumbent at St. Clement’s Mission East and the parish of Schefferville, Que.
Archbishop Stavert has been involved with the Anglican Foundation and National Executive Council (the church’s predecessor to its governing body, the Council of General Synod), and was co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada