Due to continuing financial constraints resulting from dwindling congregations, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison of the diocese of Montreal has decided not to replace Assistant Bishop Russell Hatton, who retired recently.
“The diocese has continued to suffer the effects of attrition in its membership, and is having to take a hard look at its expenses relative to its revenues,” Archbishop Hutchison said in an e-mail to the Anglican Journal. Archbishop Hutchison is diocesan bishop of Montreal, metropolitan (senior bishop) of the church province of Canada and bishop ordinary to the Canadian Forces. “I have decided, therefore, not to replace the assistant bishop, but instead to rely more heavily on the territorial archdeacons, the dean and the vicar general to share the episcopal tasks.”
The diocese, which once enjoyed a robust membership, has seen its numbers dwindle from a high of 100,000 to 20,000.
Bishop Hatton, who turned 71 last year, submitted his resignation effective last Dec. 31. He began serving the diocese of Montreal in 1998 as assistant to the diocesan bishop, the same year that he retired from his job as dean of the faculty of divinity at Huron College in London, Ont., and bishop ordinary to the Canadian Forces. He was responsible for a large area of the diocese on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, combining what had been two archdeaconries. He also chaired the bishop’s commission on ministry in the diocese.