Bishop Cowan's decision to retire comes as both a surprise and a sadness. He has been a clear-sighted and forthright colleague, and deserves the gratitude of all of us in British Columbia for his leadership and active faith.
Among his many qualities is a low tolerance for "bs." This is a necessary episcopal skill. +Jim has shown wisdom and speed in resisting those who have tried to use the church for their own ends. It has brought him a good deal of admiration and also much stress and tension.
He has invited his Diocese, and all of us beyond, to confront the realities of social change. He has consistently held up the needs of disadvantaged people. He has stood beside those who experience prejudice and sorrow.
Our two dioceses have often been mutually distant, and not for reasons of geography. Under +Jim's leadership this has changed significantly. I speak for all of us in New Westminster in expressing our gratitude for his ministry, and in wishing him and Annette every happiness and every blessing of God in their post-mitre future.
Image Above: Bishop James Cowan and Bishop Michael Ingham during their pastoral visit to Kingcome Inlet following the floods in the Fall of 2010