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We too have an Electoral College!

In December 2016, the 538 members of the United States Electoral College determined who would be the new President and the Vice-President.  On May 12, 2018, the 24 members of another Electoral College will determine who will serve as the new Archbishop and Metropolitan for the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon in our Anglican Church of Canada. 

The Most Rev. John Privett, who was elected as Archbishop and Metropolitan on September 25, 2009, and re-elected for a second 7 year term on September 16, 2016, went to Wales in 2017, for a period of discernment.  Since returning he has announced his resignation as Archbishop and Metropolitan effective April 30, 2018 and as Bishop of Kootenay effective May 31, 2018.  He will be much missed in both capacities.

To elect a successor, our Electoral College on Saturday morning May 12, 2018 at 9am will meet by telephone conference call and will vote electronically in successive rounds of voting until one of the six diocesan bishops of the province receives a majority of votes.  Most of the 24 members have practiced voting electronically in an amusing, some might say silly, mock vote.  The Incredible Hulk was among the unsuccessful candidates.  Presumably most members will vote from their home computers, though mobile tech-savvy members with up to date cell phones may well vote from their favourite coffee shop or while out for a walk.

Bishops Robertson, Privett, Andrews, Skelton, McMenamie and Lehmann are the diocesan bishops of the six dioceses (or in the case of Territory of the People, the equivalent of a diocese) of our ecclesiastical province.  Having just resigned, Archbishop Privett is unlikely to consent to allow his name to go forward as a candidate.  Bishop Andrews has indicated she similarly is unlikely to consent given intentions to retire relatively soon.  Bishops who in April have concluded they should consent to being a candidate are being invited to prepare a brief profile to be circulated to their fellow members of the Electoral College.  But all bishops are potentially candidates until the end of the meeting on Saturday May 12.

And when elected, what will be the ministry of the new Archbishop and Metropolitan?  The primary ministry of the new Archbishop and Metropolitan will be to continue as diocesan bishop in his or her diocese.  Beyond that ongoing diocesan ministry, providing pastoral care to the bishops of the ecclesiastical province is at the heart of the added archiepiscopal ministry.  Fostering unity and harmony within the ecclesiastical province is another.  And in conjunction with the other three provincial archbishops and metropolitans, assisting the Primate is an important function.

Within the province to participate in diocesan electoral synods and to be the chief consecrator of new bishops is central to this specialized ministry.  There are some ongoing administrative tasks including presiding at the triennial meetings of provincial synod (next to meet in September 2018 at Sorrento) and at meetings, mostly by telephone conference, of the provincial executive committee and the provincial executive council.  The other routine demands are generally not extensive given that provincial synod has a relatively modest budget (about $130,000 annually) and does not have extensive programmes.  But that said, the Archbishop and Metropolitan, like an emergency first responder, can be called on to assist if difficulties arise in the church within our ecclesiastical province.

For more information about the members of the Electoral College and other details please visit the website of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC/Yukon

A. Douglas MacAdams, QC, ODNW is the Chancellor of The Anglican Provincial Synod of British Columbia serving the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon.