The Rt. Rev. David Edwards, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton, has been elected Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada. The Province announced the news June 17.
“I’m looking forward to being able to serve in this new role both within the Province and nationally,” said Archbishop-elect David.
The election became necessary with the retirement of Archbishop Ron Cutler, bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island and current Metropolitan.
Despite its name, the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada’s region includes the Dioceses of Montreal, Quebec, Fredericton, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Western Newfoundland, Central Newfoundland, and Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador — much of the land from Montreal eastward.
David, 60, was chosen by three groups of delegates: bishops, clergy and laity, and was elected on the third ballot. He will be known as the Most Rev. David Edwards. The role is effective Aug. 1 until he retires or resigns.
As for a ceremony, the effects of COVID-19 will dictate when that happens, though it will likely take place during the installation of the not-yet elected new bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. That election is planned for September.
In explaining what led to this change of title and increased responsibility, David said, “Every bishop has to allow their name to stand and write a vision of ministry for the Province of Canada.”
His vision, he said, is difficult to perceive due to the pandemic’s effects, but “the National Church appears to be making strides towards a more missional approach, and I’m almost certain the Province of Canada will be playing a role in that.”
The roles of archbishop are to chair provincial synods, call provincial meetings, consult with other archbishops across the country and with the primate, and be involved with the discussions surrounding the future of the Anglican Church of Canada.
“I’ll probably have a few more meetings to go to, but really, it’s a continuation of my role as bishop of Fredericton, which will continue to take up most of my time,” he said.
“I want to offer my congratulations to Bishop David on his election as the next Metropolitan of the Province of Canada,” said Archbishop Ron. “In my time as Metropolitan, I very much enjoyed getting to know people throughout the seven dioceses which are our Province.
“I wish Archbishop-elect David every blessing as he assumes leadership of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada.”
Debbie Collicott Edwards, married to David for almost six months, is proud of her husband and his new role.
“I’m not surprised at all,” she said. “Whatever role David is asked to fill, he’ll do it with grace, dedication and conviction. David does things with integrity.”
There are six Anglican archbishops in Canada, mostly based on geography: Canada (as noted above); Ontario; Rupert’s Land (the Prairies); British Columbia & Yukon; the National Indigenous Archbishop; and the Primate (head of the Anglican Church of Canada).