The Ven. Robert Hardwick is the new bishop of the Anglican diocese of Qu’Appelle, in Regina, Sask.
Currently serving as the diocese’s assistant to the bishop and executive archdeacon, Hardwick was elected on the first ballot of the electoral synod, held Dec. 8. He succeeds Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson, who is now the bishop of the diocese of Calgary.
Ordained in 1994 at the diocese of Southwell, Church of England, Hardwick has worked in the diocese of Qu’Appelle for more than 11 years in congregational development, evangelism, visioning/strategic planning, and stewardship.
Together with Kerr-Wilson, Hardwick compiled the Diocesan Mission Action Plan (MAP), which serves as a guide for the diocese as it moves “from a maintenance mentality to a mission mentality.”
In an information package sent to synod members, Hardwick said he is committed to MAP’s vision. Key priorities include developing ministries for children, youth, and urban and reserve First Nations, improving communications, equipping laity for ministry and having a sustainable financial plan for the diocese.
Hardwick, who came from England with an experience in growing churches, stressed the importance of having well-educated leaders that can be raised up for ministries, including Fresh Expressions. Encouraging the move towards self-determination for First Nations Anglicans will also be his priority, he said.
His parish ministry has also shown that he is ecumenically-minded, and it is a quality that he intends to continue, said Hardwick. He added that in the area of communication, the diocese should harness social media “to help communicate the Gospel in new ways.”
About one-half of the province of Saskatchewan’s population of one million live within the diocesan boundaries of Qu’Appelle, which was established in 1884. The diocese consists of 8,547 members worshipping in 87 congregations.
“There is much to build on…it will be tough at times,” said Hardwick. But he added that in his years of ministry, he has discovered that “God is faithful, God equips those He calls…the spiritual gifts needed for the task.”
As for the gifts that he will bring to the episcopacy, Hardwick described himself as a “missioner, an innovator, an encourager of collaborative ministry, a prayerful team player and a man passionate about Christian stewardship.” He said that others have described him as a good pastor, a good listener, a good preacher and someone who is unflappable and has a sense of humour.
In his spare time, Hardwick enjoys sports, playing the guitar, singing, walking, painting and drawing.