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Toronto election stirs new controversy



Photos: ACC Diocese of Toronto

The Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw, the Rev. Kevin Robertson and the Rev. Jenny Andison were recently elected as bishops suffragan in Toronto. Some are questioning the legitimacy of the whole election.

By Sharon Dewey Hetke

ON SEPT. 17, the Diocese of Toronto elected three new bishops – and in doing so escalated the conflict over same-sex relationships in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Over three separate elections, a slate of 12 candidates was winnowed down and three Toronto priests emerged as new suffragans (assistant bishops) to oversee areas in Canada’s numerically largest diocese. 

In the first election, on the 7th ballot, The Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw was chosen to oversee Trent-Durham (replacing Bp. Linda Nicholls who is now coadjutor in the Diocese of Huron); in the 2nd election on the 4th ballot, the Rev. Kevin Robertson was chosen to serve York-Scarborough (replacing retired Bp. Patrick Yu); and in the 3rd election, The Rev. Jenny Andison was chosen on the third ballot to serve York-Credit Valley (following the retirement of The Rt. Rev. Philip Poole).

Robertson, 45, has served as a priest in the Diocese of Toronto since 1997 and is in a same-sex relationship but is not married to his partner. 

In early July, several Toronto clergy, The Rev. Dr. Catherine Sider-Hamilton, The Rev. Dr. Dean Mercer and The Rev. Murray Henderson, had written to the Nominations Committee, to Archbishop Colin Johnson and to Chancellor Clare Burns, asking about the legitimacy of the whole election

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Germond new bishop of Algoma

Photo: Church of the Ascension, Sudbury

Anne Germond

(Staff)  ON OCT. 14th delegates to the episcopal electoral synod in Sault Ste. Marie elected the Venerable Anne Germond as the 11th Bishop of Algoma.

A capable administrator, Germond surprised fellow delegates by initially declining to be nominated. Her husband has been seriously ill. Then she surprised them again by allowing her name to be put forward from the floor and joining the ballot after another nominee dropped out. In so doing, whether intentionally or not, she avoided the formal vetting process. She was elected

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Cross-denominational invite  

By Sue Careless

Photo: ANIC

“We have actually never experienced this number of inquiries,” says Charlie Masters.

By Sue Careless

WHEN THE SYNOD for the Anglican Network in Canada met in late October in Vancouver, disaffected members of the Anglican Church of Canada were among those invited to attend.

The Rt Rev. Charlie Masters, the moderator of ANiC, the smaller and newer of the two denominations, wrote a letter dated Oct. 7th addressed to “fellow orthodox Anglican friends.” In it he said his diocesan office and many of his clergy had received “a growing number of calls and requests that have come from Anglican believers, both clergy and laity, who find themselves very distressed

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‘Mama Debra’ opened her home to students and refugees 

Remembering Debra Fieguth, Journalist & Activist, 62

Her mission in life was to be hospitable, especially to the stranger.

(Family Photo)

Debra Fieguth in 2008 with Eh Ka Moo, a five-year-old refugee she had helped bring to Canada from Myanmar.

BY Sue Careless

“Mama Debra” died on Mother’s Day.

Journalist Debra Fieguth had no children of her own but befriended hundreds of international students and immigrants.

Fieguth died suddenly on May 8 from an undiagnosed lung disease, which caused a massive stroke. She was 62.

At the time of her death, she was a senior writer at Faith Today. Such a position means “that we can assign that person almost any story and know it will be done well,” the magazine’s co-editor, Karen Stiller, said in her eulogy. Moreover, Debra “was someone intent on making the crooked straight, setting right what had been made wrong.”

Nor did the award-winning journalist shy away from tough topics. In “The Prisoner and the Professor”

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One-third/two-thirds split 

Anglican Church of Canada deeply divided

Photo: Sue Careless

Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh spoke against the same-sex marriage motion. 

BY Sue Careless

A motion to solemnize same-sex marriage that passed by one clergy vote at its General Synod has revealed just how deeply divided the Anglican Church of Canada is today.

Moreover, pastoral letters from its Primate and several bishops sent within days of synod closing on July 12 only confirm that the Church is not of one mind.

Several bishops who had voted in favour of the motion declared they would proceed with performing same-sex rites immediately

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