Bishop David Ashdown of the diocese of Keewatin was elected metropolitan (archbishop) of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land at the June provincial synod at Holy Cross Church in Calgary. He succeeds Bishop John Clarke, who retired as metropolitan in July 2008.
This was the first Rupert’s Land election in which the entire synod elected the metropolitan. All 10 provincial diocesan bishops are eligible for the position.
Archbishop Ashdown said that there is already a sense of collegiality among the bishops but he wants to build on that.
Looking ahead, an important focus will be “mission and ministry development” through better networking and sharing of ideas. “We are all self-determining, but we walk together for strength,” he said.
Despite the many wonderful and creative ideas coming from dioceses and communities, the sticking point to implementing them is often a lack of resources. “Working together we can achieve a lot of things,” noted Archbishop Ashdown.
He cited an area mission in northern Manitoba where “we are trying to get an indigenous bishop on the ground to serve the people of two dioceses while they are still part of the parent diocese.”
He also spoke of a northern Ontario region in the diocese of Keewatin that hopes to become its own diocese. “I think there are ways that we can move forward on that.”
Importantly, Archbishop Ashdown recognizes that Rupert’s Land has always been committed to finding new and exciting ways of doing things. “The diocese of Edmonton, for example, is working at developing a church planting conference, which helps us find new ways of doing ministry in urban areas and surburban areas.”
With files from Tim Christison
editor, The Sower