Earlier this month Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, announced his intention to resign on 16 July, 2019 which will be the last day of the 42nd General Synod. ++Fred was originally elected to the position in 2007.
I may or may not make a video on all this later on, but here it goes.
What is the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada?
The Primate is the “presiding bishop of The Anglican Church of
Canada” and its “Senior Metropolitan”, as well as being the “Chief Executive Officer of the General Synod”. What does that mean?
Effectively, the Primate is responsible for overseeing the functioning of the Church as a whole, represents the Church as a whole, gives pastoral support to the rest of the Bishops of the Church in Canada. However, unlike most other Churches in the Anglican Communion the Primate does not have a see as they must resign it within 90 days of being elected Primate in a similar matter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Even thought the Primate has no Diocese nor a Province to oversee he (or she) is still considered a Metropolitan.
Who is the current Primate?
The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz is the current Primate, having been elected to the position in 2007. Before becoming Primate he was the Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Why is he resigning?
Is there a massive scandal or something? No. Not even close. Essentially, he wants to retire and hand over the
reigns crosier to someone else. While ++Fred can serve until he turns 70 he will be 65 (which is the nominal retirement age here in Canada) during General Synod in 2019.
How will the new Primate be Elected?
The Canons, specifically Canon III Part II, require that the Primate is elected by General Synod.
Between 30 and 100 days before General Synod all the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada will gather together and nominate three or more Bishops. Any Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada can be nominated: Diocesan or Suffragan.
After the Bishops have “withdrawn” from the remaining Clergy and Lay members of General Synod the two Orders will vote on the nominations which follows a process in which the nominees will proceed through a number of ballots, seeing nominees dropped (if required) until just two remain and/or a nominee has reached a majority of votes in both Orders. If there is an impasse they can request new nominees from the Bishops and continue the process, or the Bishops can vote on the final two nominees in order to break the impasse.
From my reading of the Canon if the Clergy and Laity elect someone the Bishops don’t have to confirm, nor can they veto.
Who is going to run?
Alright, that would be massive, massive speculation at this time. As of my writing of this there are 37 Bishops I am aware of who are eligible. However, Archbishop Colin Johnson of Toronto, Bishop Michael Bird of Niagara, and Bishop Don Phillips of Rupert’s Land have all announced their retirements. At the same time it is possible that their replacements could nominated for Primate.