Archbishop Michael Peers said he intends to resign the office of primate as of Feb. 1, 2004, the year in which he will reach the Anglican Church of Canada’s mandatory retirement age for bishops of 70.
The church’s national governing body, General Synod, will elect a new primate at its meeting in St. Catharines, Ont. in June, 2004. In the interim, Archbishop David Crawley, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and the Yukon and diocesan bishop of Kootenay, will assume the role of acting primate.
Archbishop Peers, who was born on July 31, 1934, said in an interview that he chose the date of Feb. 1 because it is six months before his birthday. He said that since he turned 65, he has reviewed every six months his desire and ability to continue working.
In a letter to the four metropolitans (which was read at the end of Council of General Synod’s [CoGS] meeting in early May), Archbishop Peers also noted that the date of his resignation would take place before the spring meetings of the house of bishops and CoGS. The house of bishops provides the nominations for the office of primate.
Archbishop Peers, who noted, “I am in good health, but not in good shape,” said he plans to get more exercise after retiring but added that it is too soon to talk about other plans.
Archbishop Crawley, in an interview, noted that his role will be one of “caretaker” and he will continue in his provincial and diocesan roles. He also said he will continue to live in Kootenay’s see city of Kelowna, B.C.
Archbishop Peers, who was born in Vancouver, was ordained in 1960 and elected bishop of the diocese of Qu’Appelle in 1977. He was metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land from 1982 to 1986, when he was elected primate. He is fluent in several languages and has received many honorary degrees. He and his wife, Dorothy, have three grown children and two grandchildren.