General Synod’s election for primate will feature four candidates

By on April 20, 2007

George Bruce
age 64, diocese of Ontario

Born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England in 1942, he moved with his family to the United States in 1953 and to Canada in 1958.

A graduate of the Royal Military College with an honours degree in history, he attended the Canadian Land Forces command and Staff College in 1969 and served as staff officer at a number of locations in Canada and the United Kingdom. While serving in the military, he studied theology and graduated from Montreal Diocesan College. He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from his alma mater in 2003.

After 27 years, he retired from the Armed Forces with the rank of colonel and was priested in 1987. Following his ordination, he re-enrolled in the militia (reserves) and was regimental chaplain to the Governor General’s Foot Guards until 1997.

He has served in parishes in the diocese of Ottawa, as assistant curate at St. Matthew’s church, and as rector of the parish of Winchester, Chesterville, Chrysler and South Mountain. He also served as rector of St. James the Apostle in Perth, Ont., where he and his wife, Theo, founded the town’s foodbank.

In April 2000, he became incumbent of St. George’s Cathedral, and dean of Ontario, where he also served as bishop’s commissary until his election as the 11th bishop of Ontario in June, 2002.

A member of the Order of St. Luke, he has been active in healing ministry.

He has been a member of the doctrine and worship commission, the synod management committee and the executive committee of the diocese of Ontario. He also served on a task force created by the Canadian house of bishops to consider alternate episcopal oversight for those who seriously object to church decisions.

He and Theo have five children.

Fred Hiltz
age 53, diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

In 2004, he was chosen as a candidate for primate by his episcopal colleagues, but declined, saying he did not feel he had all the necessary skills to be the national leader and felt a commitment to a diocese undergoing a period of transition. Today, he said, he has had three additional years of experience, the diocese is on a firmer footing and he and his wife approach the prospect of moving to Toronto with more enthusiasm.

He succeeded Bishop Arthur Peters in 2002 as the 14th diocesan bishop in the oldest diocese (founded in 1787) in the Canadian church. It is currently preparing to celebrate in 2010 the 300th anniversary of continuous Anglican worship in the diocese and will host the 2010 meeting of General Synod in Halifax.

In the past three years, Bishop Hiltz has led the Leap for Faith capital campaign, which has collected $2.8 million of its $3-million goal to benefit youth ministry, congregational development, communication and organizational effectiveness.

He has shown a particular interest in the Full Communion relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, serving as co-chair of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission that is implementing the agreement.

He is a former member of the national faith, worship and ministry committee and the Council of General Synod.

Born and raised in Dartmouth, N.S., Bishop Hiltz graduated from Dalhousie University with a bachelor of science degree in biology in 1975 and from the Atlantic School of Theology with a master of divinity degree in 1978.

He was ordained a deacon in 1977 and priest in 1978. He served in a number of parishes within the diocese: Christ Church, Sydney; Melford-Guysborough; Timberlea-Lakeside; All Saints Cathedral, Halifax; and St. John’s, Lunenburg.

In October 1994, he was elected suffragan (assistant) bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and in 2002 was elected co-adjutor bishop (with the right to succeed the diocesan bishop) on the first ballot by a 75 per cent majority. He is married to Lynne Samways and they have one son.

Bruce Howe
age 59, diocese of Huron

Bishop Bruce Howe has had at least three major projects on his plate since his election as bishop in 2000 – planning a celebration of the diocese’s 150th anniversary this year, managing Huron’s defence concerning lawsuits related to a former native boarding school called the Mohawk Institute and leading the development of a strategic plan called Imagine Huron.

Huron spent $2 million on legal costs before the national church reached an agreement limiting legal liability from lawsuits related to the residential schools and the diocese undertook a fundraising campaign called Huron Graceworks.

Before he was elected, he served for nearly 13 years as dean of Huron and rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Ont., where he continued the historic church’s tradition of helping refugees. In the 19th century St. Paul’s had provided sanctuary to American slaves. In 1998, under Bishop Howe’s leadership, the same church provided legal sanctuary to a family of Iranian refugees who are now weekly parishioners.

He began his ministry in the early ’70s at the diocese of Toronto where he was director of social services at the Fred Victor Mission, a position that involved serving the poor and homeless of the city.

He then moved to Nova Scotia to serve as rector of St. Mary’s parish Glace Bay, and later, as rector of the historic parish of St. John’s, Lunenburg.

Bishop Howe has served the national church as chair of the long range planning committee of General Synod, as a member of the General Synod inter-church inter-faith relations committee and as a member of the general board of the Canadian Council of Churches.

He received an honorary doctor of divinity from Huron College in 1999 and his master of sacred letters and bachelor’s degree from University of King’s College in 1970 and 1967, respectively. He has attended study programs in Cuba, Switzerland, Germany and Chicago. He also taught for several years a university course entitled The Bible in Dialogue with our Post-Modern Generation, and facilitated numerous workshops and seminars for parishes and regional events.

He and his wife, Jane, have four daughters.

Victoria Matthews
age 53, diocese of Edmonton

This is the second time Bishop Matthews has been a candidate for primate. In 2004, shortly after being nominated, she announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would be withdrawing from the election in order to take a medical leave of absence. After surgery, she returned to work in 2005 and has pursued a vigorous schedule.

A noted theologian, she chairs the Primate’s Theological Commission, which was thrust into the spotlight in 2004 when the General Synod asked it to consider whether same-sex blessings were a matter of doctrine within the church. The St. Michael Report, published by the commission, said such blessings were a matter of doctrine, but not core doctrine, and Bishop Matthews has toured the country presenting the report’s findings.

Born and raised in Toronto, she became the first female bishop of the Canadian Anglican church in 1993 when she was elected suffragan bishop of the diocese of Toronto.

Since 1997, she has been diocesan bishop of Edmonton and is still the only female diocesan bishop. If elected, she would be the Anglican Communion’s second female primate, following the election last year of Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop (primate) of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

Internationally, she worked in inner-city schools in Haiti before and after her ordination in 1980 and she has traveled widely. She chaired the house of bishops’ task force examining alternate episcopal oversight. Often chosen for national committees and task forces, she has also served on the Council of General Synod and the faith, worship and ministry committee. She was a member of the Book of Alternative Services evaluation commission and the planning group for the 1998 Lambeth meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world.

She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College in 1976. From 1976 to 1979, she was a recipient of the North American Theological Fellowship and attended Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. From 1980 to 1984, she was priest advisor to the Anglican Youth Movement in the diocese of Toronto and was also involved in the Christian-Jewish dialogue for young people. She is single.

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