Bishop-elect Patrick Yu says being an immigrant gives him an advantage as a bishop.
The Anglican Church of Canada has its first bishop of Asian descent – Canon Patrick Yu, the Hong Kong-born incumbent of St. Timothy’s church in Agincourt, Ont., who was elected suffragan (assistant) bishop in the diocese of Toronto Jan. 7.
Bishop-elect Yu, 54, elected at St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto, will become the area bishop of York-Scarborough, east of Toronto, which has about 70 parishes. His consecration has been scheduled for March 25. The diocese has four areas overseen by four suffragans and a diocesan bishop.
“It’s a significant event, but I also believe that it is important for everyone in the church, particularly its leaders, to be able to go outside of their own cultural envelope and stand beside a person of another culture,” he said after the election. “I believe that having been an immigrant and an outsider may give me an advantage in doing that.”
Bishop-elect Yu earned a bachelor of arts degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., in 1974. He received a master of divinity at Wycliffe College in Toronto in 1981, and a doctor of ministry at the Toronto School of Theology in 1997.
Ordained a priest in 1982, he began his ministry as assistant curate of Scarborough’s Church of the Epiphany. He later worked as an incumbent of the Ontario parish of Coldwater-Medonte (1983 to 1990); secretary of the advisory committee for postulants for ordination in northern and western Ontario (1984 to 1988); incumbent of North York’s St. Theodore of Canterbury (1990 to 1997); and incumbent of St. Timothy’s Anglican church in Agincourt in 1997.
A member of Toronto’s diocesan council, Bishop-elect Yu has also been liturgical officer for the York-Scarborough area, a member of General Synod, and a member of a sexuality dialogue group.
A Christian from a Buddhist background, Bishop-elect Yu said that while attending Anglican schools in Hong Kong, “the stories and ethos of the Christian faith slowly influenced my thinking” and became clear around his father’s death when he was 13.
Bishop-elect Yu and his wife, Kathy, have three grown children – Christina, Teresa and Joseph.
Canon Yu was elected on the fourth ballot. Archdeacon Peter Fenty, archdeacon of York and executive assistant to the Bishop of Toronto received the second-highest vote total. A total of 620 electoral synod members, including clergy and lay, cast their votes on the final ballot.