Archdeacon Bruce Myers, the Anglican Church of Canada’s co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, is now in line to be the 13th bishop of Quebec after being elected the diocese’s co-adjutor bishop Friday, November 27.
The election, which involved six candidates, went to six ballots before the only remaining candidate, Canon Stuart Pike, voluntarily withdrew his name. Following the rules of the diocese, it then went to one more vote so that the synod could confirm its choice of Myers. The decision required at least two-thirds majorities of both the lay and clerical delegates.
“I think it took longer than anyone anticipated, although I think it’s also a testament to what a really fine slate of nominees the synod was presented with,” Myers said after his election. “You never know how things are going to go, at an electoral synod especially, and the Spirit moves as it wills, and that can sometimes take us in unexpected places.”
Friday’s election followed an announcement in August by the current bishop, Dennis Drainville, that he planned to retire in 2017. The diocese then announced plans for an election of the co-adjutor bishop in November. Drainville is expected to finalize his retirement date by December 1, Myers said.
Pike, who addressed synod after he withdrew in order to explain that he felt Myers was the better choice, says he didn’t feel greatly disappointed by the results.
“I feel terribly encouraged for the diocese of Quebec that they will have an absolutely excellent bishop,” Pike said. “I really do affirm, from my own sense of the Spirit in this, the calling of Bruce. I think it is the will of the Spirit, and I think he will make an absolutely excellent bishop.”
The precise dates of the stage of his transition to co-adjutor bishop remain to be determined, Myers said, but he anticipates being back in the diocese of Quebec and serving in his new role sometime in the spring. After winding up his ministry work in Toronto, he said, his first priorities are to travel the diocese and become more familiar with its people and communities, as well as working out a transition plan with the current bishop.
In a biographical profile released by the diocese, Myers says he would like to bring a sense of hope to the role of bishop of Quebec.
“These are challenging times for our church, and in the midst of these difficulties it can be easy to succumb to what Pope Francis calls ‘sterile pessimism’ or the ‘evil spirit of defeatism,’ ” Myers writes. “Yet as Christians we are called to be a people of hope-the sure and certain hope of Christ’s resurrection and the redemption of all things, including the church.
“The hunger among Quebecers for meaningful and intelligent engagement with life’s big questions and society’s great challenges means we’re in a time and place fertile for the seeds of the gospel.”
Myers spent his childhood in the Ottawa Valley, and was raised in the United Church. He joined the Anglican Church after encountering Anglicanism in his late teens, but says he still values his United Church upbringing. His seminary study, he says, set the stage for his calling as an ecumenist.
“[It] was transformative and deepened my conviction that Christian division is contrary to Christ’s will and an obstacle to God’s mission,” Myers says. “This conviction became a vocation.”
Apart from working to build bridges with other Christian denominations, Myers also engages with people of other religions, especially, he says, Judaism and Islam.
Myer’s election comes after a career that has spanned ministry and journalism. After studying history and theology at the University of Toronto, he spent nearly a decade in broadcast journalism in Ontario and Quebec. He was Ottawa bureau chief for CFRB/CJAD radio from 1995-1997, then Quebec City bureau chief from 1997-1999. From 2000-2003, Myers worked as morning news anchor for Mix 96 radio in Montreal, while simultaneously completing a bachelor’s degree in theology at McGill University. He completed a diploma in ministry at Montreal Diocesan Theological College, and was ordained as a priest of the diocese of Quebec in 2004. Myers then served as parish priest in the Magdalen Islands from 2004-2007.
Since then, Myers has been combining church work with theological studies.
From 2007-2009, he completed a master of theology degree at the University of Geneva. He served as archdeacon of Quebec from 2008-2013, and as missioner of communications for the diocese from 2011-2013. Myers began his current role at the national office in Toronto in 2012. In 2013, he began working toward a doctor of ministry degree at Saint Paul University in Ottawa-studies, he says, he plans to continue to completion.