Ralph Spence has announced his intention to retire as diocesan bishop of Niagara at the end of February 2008.
The election for a co-adjutor bishop, who will succeed Bishop Spence, is scheduled for June 2.
Bishop Spence identified the diocese’s financial future, evangelism and attracting newcomers as his top priorities when he became the 10th bishop of Niagara in 1998.
A graduate of Hamilton’s McMaster University, he received a licentiate in theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto in 1968.
He served as priest-in-charge at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh and in Canada as archdeacon of Niagara’s Trafalgar region, honorary canon at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton, Ont., rector at St. Bartholomew’s, Hamilton? rector at St. Luke’s, Burlington, and assistant curate at St. George’s, Guelph, Ont.
Bishop Spence is also known for having the largest personal flag collection in North America and is Canada’s leading expert in vexillology, or the study of flags.