Bishop Ann Tottenham, 64, who brought career experience in education to the Toronto episcopacy, will retire on Aug. 31, 2005.
“This has not been an easy decision for me to make because, for the most part, I have enjoyed the challenge and fulfillment of episcopal ministry,” said Bishop Tottenham in an article on the diocesan Web site. “On the other hand, I feel that I have given what I have to give as an area bishop in the diocese of Toronto and it is time for new leadership.”
Diocesan bishop Colin Johnson, citing her “passionate concern for meaningful faith,” said he received her resignation with great regret. He also mentioned her “brilliantly wry sense of humour.” Bishop Tottenham’s quips and occasional barbs often punctuated meetings of the Canadian house of bishops. Recently, she criticized the idea of retired bishops ministering to conservative parishes outside their dioceses that are upset about liberalizing church attitudes toward homosexuals. She mused aloud about becoming a “flying” bishop who would minister to liberal parishes upset with conservative bishops.
Bishop Tottenham became the second female bishop in the Canadian Anglican church in 1997, when she was elected suffragan (assistant) bishop of Toronto, and led the Credit Valley area west of Toronto. Born in Kingston, Ont., she earned degrees at the University of Toronto, Trinity College and Union Theological Seminary in New York. From 1981 to 1995, she was head of the Bishop Strachan School, a private girls school in Toronto. She is single.
Bishop Johnson said he does not expect an election for a new suffragan bishop until 2006. The diocese had four suffragans in addition to the diocesan bishop. Bishop-elect Philip Poole will take over the Credit Valley area and Bishop Johnson has distributed the deaneries in another area among the existing bishops.