My sisters and brothers in Christ,
If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity. - C.S. Lewis
One of the ways you can know that you are following the living God, and not merely a projection of your own desires and hopes, is when God asks you to do something that you were not expecting and that may be surprising or even shocking.
I am writing to tell you that this morning, it will be announced that Bishop Andrew Asbil is appointing me as the 11th Rector of St. Paul's Bloor Street. Although I will be stepping down as the Area Bishop of York-Credit Valley, I will - like other bishops who serve in non-jurisdictional ministries, as theologians, heads of seminaries, deans of cathedrals, or at the Communion Office - remain a bishop and will continue to live out my consecration vows in this new ministry context.
St. Paul's, the largest Anglican church in Canada, undertook an international search for their next Rector, and I accepted their call after much prayer and discernment. As Rector of St. Paul's, I will be building upon the extraordinary legacy of those who have gone before me, including not only the current Rector, Canon Barry Parker, but also another bishop, Robert Renison, who had served as Bishop of Athabasca before serving at St. Paul's from 1933 to 1943, and then went on to serve as Bishop of Moosonee.
I made this decision with a strong sense of hope for the future to which our Heavenly Father is calling me and the people of St. Paul's, but also with gravity and genuine sorrow for what I must lay down as a result.
It is an immense privilege to serve as a bishop in Christ's holy, catholic Church. I have loved being a suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Toronto, and it has been (and continues to be) such a joy to share in gospel ministry with the College of Bishops and all of you in York-Credit Valley.
To the clergy of York-Credit Valley: I am so grateful for how we have, side-by-side, led worship that glorifies God and nourishes God's people (and now I can use a thurible), for how we have struggled together through transition and upheavals in parish life, and for the opportunity to pray and dream with one another about what new thing God in Jesus Christ may be doing in this or that part of our Episcopal Area. Above all, I treasure our companionship in the gospel.
To the laity of York-Credit Valley: It has been a delight to experience the joyful and diverse exuberance of so many of the parishes, parishes filled with all of you! I have eaten delicious food from all over the world, sung life-giving songs, learned new dances, and marveled at how God seeks to draw all people, from every country under the sun, to Jesus Christ. On numerous occasions, I have been struck by how sacrificially so many of you serve in ministry. Thank you for our partnership in the gospel.
There will be a range of reactions to this news, probably matching my own mixture of emotions as this path was prayerfully discerned. I will continue in my current office until the end of February, needing to complete a number of important projects well and to set in place a healthy transition plan, so that our Episcopal Area can continue to flourish as it has for many years, in periods of both stability and change.
I am profoundly grateful for having had the opportunity to work and worship with you as your Area Bishop over the past four years. Thank you for the prayerful support and gracious encouragement that you have given me, showing me the face of Jesus. My hope is that I have provided the same to you in equal measure. In my new capacity, I look forward to our paths crossing as your colleague in ministry and a fellow disciple of Jesus Christ, as we continue to labour together for the Diocese as a whole, for the global Anglican Communion, and above all, for Christ's kingdom.
The Right Reverend Jennifer Andison
Area Bishop of York-Credit Valley
Bishop Suffragan of Toronto