Primate by numbers

Published February 1, 2004

How did Archbishop Michael Peers spend his days as a primate? The Anglican Journal gives you a bird’s eye view, based on reports he submitted to the National Executive Council from September 1986 to December 1995 and the Council of General Synod from January 1996 to November 2003. The reports are incomplete, however ?? some were reportedly misplaced during staff changes ?? so the figures below are not the full total. Missing entries account for 22 months ?? less than two years out of 17 1/2 ?? and those that remain show a tireless primate. IT TOOK Archbishop Peers and his wife, Dorothy, six days to find a house in Toronto when they moved from Regina after his election as primate in 1986. They looked at 66 houses. DURING THE FIRST half of his primacy ?? 9.5 years or 3,437 days ?? he spent 1,787 nights or 52 per cent at home, and 1,650 nights or 48 per cent away from home. SINCE 1986 he has undergone medical check-ups for a total of 4.5 days in 17.5 years. HIS AVERAGE DAYS OFF work, including weekends, was two days a month. Since 1986, he logged 536 days off or an average of 29.7 days a year. (A full-time worker at Church House, excluding official holidays, gets 96.) HE CALLED IN SICK for a total of 16 days from September 1986 to November 2003 ??0.2 per cent of a total of 6,265 days. FOR THE 17.5 years he was primate, Archbishop Peers took 154.5 days of vacation leave, an average of 8.5 days a year. That is nearly three weeks short of the vacation time he is entitled to. FAMILY BUSINESS took him away from his normal routine for only 15 days between September 1986 and November 2003. HE TOOK A SABBATICAL of 127 days, of which he spent a week at home sorting personal books and papers (and gave away 23 cartons of books). He also learned “to cook a decent dinner,” upgraded his computer skills, disengaged from work (” not difficult”) and turned 60. TURNING 60 was not particularly earthshaking, but he did notice that, “banks are friendlier.” A NORMAL day on sabbatical will find him reading six chapters of the Old Testament in the morning, a psalm at noon, and two chapters of the New Testament in the evening. IN THE LAST 4.5 years, he has been more peripatetic, logging a total of 353 takeoffs and landings, 26.5 days of travel by car, nine by train, and two by bus. Each of those trips would include lifting and handling his luggage (which is specified in his job description). SINCE 1995 ?? a seven-year period of travel here and abroad ?? he has collected 877,363 air miles under Air Canada ‘s Aeroplan travel rewards. With this much mileage, the primate can take a trip around the world three times or more (depending on which class of ticket he books). He can, in fact, point to any destination he wants and fly there, first class. A first-class round-trip ticket to Hawaii can be redeemed for 190,000 points. If he wants to discover, say Tonga, it will cost him 140,000 miles. SINCE 1996, when he began calculating his local and international flights, he estimates that 316.5 out of 2,889 days ?? about 35 per cent ?? were spent traveling. THE HOURS IN FLIGHT (including hours in airport and ground transit) that he calculated from 1996 to November 2003 totaled 1,093.5 hours or about 45.5 days. 50 COUNTRIES ?? from Australia to Zimbabwe ?? have been graced by his presence. HIS NATIONAL WORK has taken him to 291 towns, cities, provinces, and municipalities across Canada, where he visited parishes and dioceses, attended meetings, preached, baptized, confirmed, officiated at weddings, addressed synods and clergy gatherings, and consulted, among other things. These trips took him from Agassiz, B.C., to Yellowknife (alphabetically). He has gone to some of these places many times. IN TORONTO alone, he took more than 200 trips outside 600 Jarvis. OUTSIDE TORONTO, he often traveled to Ottawa (41 times), Winnipeg (39), and Montreal (23). AT CHURCH HOUSE, the national church office, he chaired at least 260 meetings and 26 conference calls. HE INTERVIEWED various staff at least 1,389 times. HE WAS INTERVIEWED by the media at least 204 times. HE WELCOMED visitors and dignitaries to church house at least 48 times. HE GAVE AWAY 61 “little bishops” as presents to bishops here and abroad. Sold by the British Museum Company, these miniature bishops ?? made of ground stone and resin mix ?? are exact replicas of the “outstanding chessmen of the world” pieces found on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, in 1831. In general terms: OVERALL LEADERSHIP of the General Synod’s program took up 60 per cent of his time. This includes his national work at church house, the hiring and firing of directors and primate’s office staff, overall pastoral leadership of church-house staff, and work outside church house. DIOCESAN, provincial and local work accounts for 15 per cent of his typical duties and responsibilities. These include attending and addressing synods, leading conferences, celebrating and preaching at parish occasions, handing out the Anglican Award of Merit, participating in public and civic occasions, and other duties. REPRESENTING the Anglican Church of Canada abroad accounts for 20 per cent of his responsibilities. THE REMAINING five per cent is allocated for “programs of educational and spiritual renewal.” compiled by Marites N. Sison


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