Bishop Rodney Andrews, 69, plans to soar off into the wild blue yonder after he retires at the end of this month as the bishop of the diocese of Saskatoon. A licensed pilot, Bishop Andrews will fly with the ecumenical ministry, On Eagle’s Wings, which serves remote northern communities. He will also work as a part-time flight instructor.
Ordained for 46 years, one of the highlights of Bishop Andrews’ time in the diocese of Saskatoon was his Tractor Trek in the summer of 2005. He wanted to mark Saskatchewan’s centennial year along with that of the Anglican church in Saskatoon. Bishop Andrews got the idea of driving an antique John Deere tractor across the diocese as a fundraising activity for three causes. A third of the funds would go to The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Another third would go to Saskatoon’s companion diocese in Guyana, which had been devastated by flooding. Finally, there was the Anglican children’s church camp north of Prince Albert. It needed a water system.
Although Bishop Andrews admits he was a bit nervous when he first pitched his idea to a men’s group, the feedback was encouraging. One man told him, “Bishop, a dollar a mile.” That got things rolling. His two-week drive over 1,500 kms was the catalyst for 30 parish events along the way and the diocese raised $42,000.
Bishop Andrews also said that as prolocutor for General Synod when Archbishop Michael Peers was primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, he valued the opportunity to work with people in various parts of the country. He also served in the dioceses of Calgary, Montreal and Algoma, as rector, armed forces chaplain and executive archdeacon. In New Westminster, he served as Anglican chaplain at the University of British Columbia.
Returning to Saskatoon where he had attended theological college was a privilege, says Bishop Andrews, who plans to remain in the city, where his wife works as a nurse. “I cherish the relationships and friendships with people here,” he said.
Raised on a farm in Alberta, Bishop Andrews will also stay in touch with his rural roots. He plans to continue writing for The Country Guide, Canada’s national farm magazine, where he has been the resident clergy columnist for 15 years.