Bishop Susan Moxley, the suffragan, or assistant, bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, was elected diocesan bishop on Oct. 20 in an episcopal election at All Saints Cathedral, Halifax.
She was chosen on the first ballot. She received 196 lay votes out of 265 ballots. Among clergy, she was named in 104 ballots out of 149 cast.
Bishop Moxley, who is 61, has been serving as suffragan bishop since March, 2004. In June 2007, her predecessor, Bishop Fred Hiltz, was elected primate, or national archbishop, of the Anglican Church of Canada and is now based at the national office in Toronto.
She is the second female bishop elected to lead a diocese. Bishop Victoria Matthews was elected bishop of Edmonton in 1997. News of Bishop Moxley’s election was distributed to the International Anglican Women’s Network and Bishop Moxley, in an interview, said she is getting e-mails from women around the world, one of which said, “We need to know this is possible.”
Nevertheless, Bishop Moxley also commented that “the church moves slowly.” The Anglican Church of Canada ordained its first female priests in 1976. Recently, she noted, the diocese sent a group of six young clergy, who happened to be five female and one male, to a leadership development event hosted by the Episcopal Church. “Moving into leadership roles doesn’t happen overnight. We need to encourage women to get the leadership training they need,” said Bishop Moxley.
In diocesan affairs, she will be continuing to implement work performed by three major task groups, including an organizational effectiveness plan. As diocesan bishop, she will be involved in appointing clergy to parishes, in consultation with congregations, and be responsible for more pastoral work with clergy. She said she anticipated an election for a suffragan bishop would be held at the regular diocesan synod next May. The date of her installation service has not yet been set, but will probably take place before yearend, she said.
Known for a strong commitment to social justice issues, Bishop Moxley has served on the national eco-justice committee, indigenous justice working group and healing fund committee. At the most recent General Synod governing convention in June 2007, she was chair of the nominating committee, which oversees nominations to national committees.
She is also the Canadian church’s episcopal representative at the Anglican Consultative Council (there is also one clerical delegate and one lay delegate), the international body with representation from the worldwide Anglican Communion. It usually meets once every three years.
She earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in arts from the University of Western Ontario, a master’s degree in psychology and a PhD in education and psychology from the University of Michigan. She received her master’s degree in divinity in 1984 from the Atlantic School of Theology, where she served as a part-time faculty member from 1990 to 1996.
She was ordained to the diaconate in 1984 and to the priesthood in 1985 and she has served parishes in the diocese of Nova Scotia and P.E.I. and has been a member of a number of diocesan councils and committees.
She and her husband, Bruce Moxley, have two grown daughters, Ruth and Tanya, who has been active in national church activities, including the communications and information resources committee.
(Editor’s note: This story, first published Oct.22, has been revised. The word “communications” was missing in the last paragraph.)