Sorrento director approved as APCI bishop

Published June 30, 2009

Bishop-elect Barbara Andrews

Rev. Barbara Andrews, executive director of the Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre in B.C. for seven years, has been elected suffragan bishop for the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI).

“”I’m very excited and somewhat scared at the moment,” said Bishop-elect Andrews. “It is certainly a great privilege but it comes with even greater responsibilities.”

She will leave Sorrento to be based at St. Paul’s cathedral in Kamloops and said resigning as director of the Sorrento Centre after her election was “heart-wrenching….. I have loved being the director at Sorrento Centre…. but I’ve tried to be faithful to what I believe God is calling me to next. And so it’s nice to have had such a good time here and I’ve been in a privileged position to get to know the people of APCI who have been my neighbours.”

Bishop-elect Andrews was first nominated by the APCI electoral assembly in early March, but when her name was sent to the house of bishops and the electoral college of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, which met March 27, they announced that the election would be deferred to September. APCI clergy and laity, who had been expecting that their nomination would be approved in the same way their nomination of the previous suffragan bishop were surprised and frustrated by the delay and uncertainty.

Since APCI is not a diocese but is administered from Archbishop Terrence Buckle’s office in Whitehorse, it cannot elect a bishop outright. The canon or church law approved by the provincial synod in 2003 states that the electoral college, made up of bishops and the provincial council, may name other nominees. (APCI was created after the diocese of Cariboo closed in 2001 after the huge financial toll exacted by lawsuits alleging abuse at Indian residential schools.)

Archbishop Buckle said the bishops made the “unanimous request” to defer the election, for three reasons: “to establish a timeline for the reactivation of the diocese of Cariboo; to bring clarity to the issue of length of term of service of the suffragan bishop; and to review the process by which APCI recommends a nominee to assist with episcopal oversight of APCI.” He said it was left with him as metropolitan to try to clarify some of these issues.

Dwight Oatway, who was a delegate at the APCI electoral assembly, said Archbishop Buckle then had a meeting with APCI representatives in Kamloops and listened to their frustrations and concerns about the deferral of the election until September. “I think he heard loud and clear that we wanted it sooner than that,” he said. The archbishop announced shortly after that the election would be held in June.

Archbishop Buckle said the meeting and information about the visioning process that APCI has begun answered many of the bishops’ questions. “We got some clarity as to a timeline if it was to become a diocese again, if that’s what they want to do, which has yet to be determined,” he said. “If it was to be, they were talking up to 10 years for all that to come together, so that gave an indication of where they were at, what they were thinking and a timeline and the fact that this process was in place and that met with my satisfaction.”

Now that the election is over, Mr. Oatway said, “Personally, I’m excited about finally getting to the point where we have a suffragan bishop again. We’ve been kind of lost in the wilderness here for a bit.”

Melissa Green, an APCI youth delegate who has worked with Bishop-elect Andrews at the Sorrento Centre, said the people of APCI are ready to put the frustrations about the election process behind them and move forward. “We’re just joyful with the outcome of the electoral college meeting on Friday and everything that happened with that.”

Before becoming director at the Sorrento Centre, Bishop Andrews worked on a street ministry project in Winnipeg and served at St. George’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg for 12 years.

She will succeed Bishop Gordon Light who retired as suffragan for APCI last year.


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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