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, receiving 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 served as suffragan bishop since March, 2004. In June 2007, her predecessor, 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 said, “the church moves slowly.” The Anglican Church of Canada ordained its first female priests in 1976. “Moving into leadership roles doesn’t happen overnight. We need to encourage women to get the leadership training they need,” said Bishop Moxley.
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. Her installation service was scheduled to take place on Nov. 23 at All Saints’ Cathedral in Halifax.
Known for a strong commitment to social justice issues, Bishop Moxley has served on the national eco-justice committee, the indigenous justice working group and the healing fund committee.
She is also the Canadian church’s episcopal (bishop) representative at the Anglican Consultative Council, the international body with representation from the worldwide Anglican Communion. It usually meets every three years.
Bishop Moxley 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.
She and her husband, Bruce, have two grown daughters, Ruth and Tanya.
In an article written for the national church’s Web site, Bishop Moxley’s daughters commented, “Our mom is a remarkable person and an extraordinary mom! We have known this for the past 30+ years. She has served God and this diocese with faith, creativity, understanding, patience and a great outlook for the future. Today’s results seem to indicate that lots of other people agree with our completely objective opinion.”