Archbishop Terrence O. Buckle, bishop of the diocese of Yukon and metropolitan (provincial archbishop) of British Columbia and the Yukon, has announced his retirement effective December 2008.
“I didn’t have to retire until the end of 2009. But looking at it all, I thought it was a good time for everyone concerned,” Bishop Buckle, 67, told members of the Council of the North during a meeting Sept. 20-22 in Edmonton.
Seeing the development of shared ministry, which the diocese of Yukon refers to as “circle ministry,” was one of the highlights of his 12 years as diocesan bishop, said Archbishop Buckle. “All ministry doesn’t reside in ordained leadership, but with the people of God. So we try to work hard at that vision,” he said. “It has made a difference for us because of the cutback in terms of the national grant (to Northern dioceses) over the years. We have a decreased number of ordained clergy in our diocese that are employed, so we’ve had to do more with less.” But, he added, “There’s a real sense of ownership developing in terms of ministry.”
Archbishop Buckle identified finding resources and strengthening the ministry to the youth as Yukon’s continuing challenges.
“The financial challenge will always be there. We need more clergy. We need more trained clergy to train others,” he said. Twenty years ago, he said, the diocese – which has 15 congregations serving 24 communities in the Yukon and parts of northern British Columbia – employed 14 priests. Now it has five and a half.
He added: “I guess there are ups and downs. But it’s been an encouraging time. The clergy and laity are very committed.”
Archbishop Buckle and his wife, Blanche, who are originally from Simcoe, Ont., are retiring in Yukon, where their two grown sons also reside.
A graduate of Church Army College, Archbishop Buckle began his ministry as a church army captain in 1962 and served in the dioceses of Montreal, Niagara, Toronto, and the Arctic. Ordained a priest in 1973, in the diocese of the Arctic, he served as a priest, regional dean, and canon at Inuvik, N.W.T., from 1975 to 1982. From 1982 to 1988, he was an archdeacon at Fort Nelson, B.C., and was rector at Yellowknife from 1988 to 1993. He was elected suffragan (assistant) bishop of the diocese of the Arctic in 1993, diocesan bishop of the Yukon in 1995, and metropolitan of B.C. and Yukon in 2005. (The ecclesiastical, or church, province of B.C. and Yukon includes the dioceses of Yukon, New Westminster, British Columbia, Kootenay, Caledonia and the parishes of the Central Interior, formerly known as the diocese of Cariboo.)