Archdeacon Michael F. Pollesel takes up new position in February.
Archdeacon Michael F. Pollesel, interim executive officer from the Kingston-based diocese of Ontario, is the new general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The Council of General Synod (CoGS) approved the nomination of Mr. Pollesel during its regular fall meeting.
Mr. Pollesel, 56, is known in the church as an expert on stewardship. He succeeds Archdeacon Jim Boyles, who retired last summer.
Mr. Pollesel was introduced to CoGS members during a eucharist Nov. 20 and he said he was approaching his new job with “much fear and trepidation” but that he knew he was “being upheld” by members of the national church. “God has always called me out of my comfort zone but I know that God is faithful,” he added.
“I see myself as a servant to the church in its national expression,” Mr. Pollesel in a news release.
As chief operating officer of General Synod, the church’s national office, Mr. Pollesel will be responsible for day-to-day operations and for managing a staff of about 100. The general secretary’s other duties also include being secretary of General Synod and CoGS, and liaison between the council and its standing committees.
Mr. Pollesel began working for the Anglican church as a curate in the diocese of Toronto. Since 1999, he has served the diocese of Ontario as stewardship education co-ordinator, and, since May, as interim diocesan executive officer. He described his diocesan duties as similar to those of the general secretary, only on a smaller scale. These included interpreting to different church constituencies the vision of the diocese, the bishop and the diocesan synod, said the press statement.
In his application for the general secretary’s position, Mr. Pollesel said his priorities include improving links between General Synod and dioceses and rebuilding the sagging morale of national staff, which has been severely affected by the residential schools crisis and the church’s chronic financial problems.
“The former will require finding ways to develop a renewed sense of relationship among all Anglicans within our country,” wrote Mr. Pollesel. “The general secretary can play a vital role in helping to build bridges between and among our various constituents, thereby strengthening and perhaps even renewing relationships which are now somewhat fragile.”
He added: “The second focal area, morale among national church staff, can be linked to the first area of concern, which has resulted from decades of declining numbers in our denomination. This has had an impact on national church staff, many of whom are often left wondering about the long-term stability of their positions. I would suggest that this area of concern can be conquered by renewing relationships with the dioceses, as well as by seeking to support and assist national church staff in various ways as they carry out their diverse ministries on behalf of us all.”
Mr. Pollesel’s nomination was presented by the primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, to CoGS during an in-camera (closed-door) session. His confirmation follows a lengthy search process that involved interviews by a special search committee with national representation, and the presentation of a short list of candidates to the primate. Twenty people applied for the position; six were short-listed and two names were eventually submitted to the primate.
Mr. Pollesel was ordained deacon in the diocese of Toronto in 1979 and a priest in 1980.
He obtained his master of divinity degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and a doctorate of ministry in 2005 from Colgate-Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He spent his undergraduate years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., and at Carleton University and St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.
Mr. Pollesel and his wife, Gini, a human resources manager with Health Canada, have five adult children.
Meanwhile, CoGS also expressed its appreciation to Ellie Johnson, who has served as acting general secretary since Mr. Boyles’ retirement. Ms. Johnson will resume her post as director of the national church’s partnerships department in February.