Upon the retirement of Archbishop Michael Peers on Feb. 1, the Anglican Church of Canada will have a new leader ? for four months.
Archbishop David Crawley, metropolitan (senior bishop) of the church province of British Columbia and the Yukon and diocesan bishop of Kootenay, will become interim primate until May 31, when General Synod elects a successor to Archbishop Peers. According to the national church’s canons, or laws, the senior metropolitan by election becomes the acting primate upon a vacancy in the office of primate.
“I’m sure it will be interesting,” said Archbishop Crawley, who will not move to the national church office in Toronto from Kelowna, B.C., the see city of Kootenay. “I do plan to spend a few days each month in Toronto to keep up with what’s going on,” he added. He was to meet with the national office’s management team in late January.
One decision he has already made is to ask Archbishop Peers to attend, on his behalf, the synod of the diocese of Cuba in late February. For many years, Archbishop Peers, who speaks fluent Spanish, has chaired the Metropolitan Council of Cuba, which oversees the Episcopal Church of Cuba. “I don’t speak Spanish and I don’t know the scene,” said Archbishop Crawley in an interview.
So far, the interim primate’s calendar is light on international engagements. In recent years, the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion have been invited to meet annually in late spring, but last year, they met for a second time in October to discuss developments concerning homosexuality. No primates’ meeting has been scheduled thus far in 2004.
Archbishop Crawley, who is 66, has said he does not intend to stand for election to the primacy, since the church’s retirement age for the primate is 70. He will retain his diocesan and provincial positions. He also oversees the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, the former British Columbia diocese of Cariboo, which was scheduled to confirm a suffragan bishop on Jan. 24.
Born in Manitoba, Archbishop Crawley grew up in northern Alberta and northern Ontario. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Manitoba, a licentiate in theology degree from St. John’s College in Winnipeg and a master’s degree in theology from the University of Kent at Canterbury. He was awarded an honourary doctorate degree from St. John’s College in 1990.
He served parishes in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia and was elected bishop of Kootenay in 1990. He was elected archbishop and metropolitan in 1994. In recent years, he was a member of the team that negotiated an agreement with the federal government that limited church liability concerning lawsuits related to Indian residential schools.
He has three daughters, two of them grown; he is married to Joan Bubbs. .