General Synod 2007

The Right Reverend Victoria Matthews

The Right Reverend Victoria Matthews
Diocesan Bishop of Edmonton
Anglican Church of Canada

10035 – 103rd Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Telephone: (780) 439-7344
Fax: (780) 439-6549
E-mail: [email protected]


Ordination to the Episcopate: 1994, Diocese of Toronto
Ordination to the Priesthood: 1980, Diocese of Toronto
Ordination to the Diaconate: 1979, Diocese of Toronto


Diocese of Edmonton
1997-present: Diocesan Bishop

Diocese of Toronto
1994-1997: Suffragan Bishop - Credit Valley Area
1987-1994: Director of Field Education and tutor in Pastoral Theology (Part-time), Trinity College, Faculty of Divinity
1989-1994: Regional Dean - Deanery of York Mills
1987-1994: Incumbent - All Souls’ Church, North York
1983-1987: Incumbent - Parish of Georgina (Sutton West and Sibbald’s Point)
1979-1983: Assistant Curate – Church of St. Andrew, Scarborough


National Committees
1996-present: Chairperson, Primate’s Theological Commission
2004: Chairperson, Task Force on Alternate Episcopal Oversight
2001-2004: Member, Council of General Synod
1997-present: Participation, most years, in the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue at the National level.
1992, 1995, 1998, 2001: Member of General Synod
1995-1998: Member, Faith, Worship & Ministry Committee of General Synod
1994-1997: Chairperson, National Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination
1992-1994: Member, National Executive Council of General Synod
1992-1995: Member, Doctrine and Worship Committee of General Synod
1992-1995: Member, Book of Alternative Services Evaluation Commission of General Synod

Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario
1995: Provincial Synod as bishop
1991: Provincial Synod as a priest

Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land
1997, 2000, 2003: Provincial Synod
1997–2003: Provincial Executive Council
2006 - : Provincial Executive Council
1998-2006: Episcopal Chairperson for Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination.
Member of the Provincial Panel for Episcopal Elections in Saskatoon, Calgary and the Arctic


Th.M.: 1987 - Trinity College, Toronto
M.Div.: 1979 - Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut (recipient of the North American Theological Fellowship 1976-1979)
B.A.(honours): 1976 - Trinity College, University of Toronto, Toronto

Continuing Education:
University of Geneva summer school.
St. George’s College, Windsor: Women and Authority (2 consultations).
Various retreats: Cowley Fathers, Cambridge, MA; SSJD Edmonton and Toronto; community of Taizé, France.
Two 2 – 3 month sojourns with the Sisters of St. Margaret in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, teaching in inner city school and assisting with Missions and fundraising.

Year of Birth: 1954

Marital Status: Single, never married, no children, one large dog

Recreational Interests: Reading, hiking, swimming, Anglican history and theology.


1997, 2006: St. Augustine Seminar, in preparation for Lambeth Conference, London, England
2006 - :Member of Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity, Edmonton
2001-2004: Trustee, Berkeley Divinity School, Connecticut, U.S.A.
1999-present: Episcopal Consultant to the North American Chapter of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd
1996-2004: Canadian Patron of Affirming Anglican Catholicism (North America)
1995-2004: Member of the Corporation and Successor Trustee Yale University, Connecticut, U.S.A.
2001: Member of the Senate, Emmanuel and St. Chad College, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Chancellor from 2006 – 2009.
2001: Led young persons’ pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and Taizé, France.
1998: Member of Communications Committee at the Lambeth Conference ’98
1995-1998: Member, Design Group for the Lambeth Conference 1998
1995: Led young persons pilgrimage to Iona, various sites in England and Taizé, France
1987-1994: Chairperson of North Yorkers for Disabled Persons, Inc.

Retreat and Teaching Opportunities

Clergy Conferences for the Dioceses of Brandon, Calgary, Fredericton, Rupert’s Land;
Clergy Retreats for the Dioceses of Saskatoon; Qu’Appelle; Edmonton;
Addressed Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Ontario as keynote speaker;
Various public lectures at Seminaries;
Led two courses at Sorrento Centre, in British Columbia;
Key note speaker at Diocesan Conference in Newcastle, Australia;
Presented a paper to the Archbishop’s Working Group on Women in the Episcopate of the Church of England;
Educational events on the St. Michael Report for the ecclesiastical provinces of Canada,and Rupert’s Land; and the dioceses of British Columbia, Calgary, Edmonton, Qu’Appelle, Rupert’s Land, Kootenay, Ontario, Niagara and Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.


The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada is first and foremost a Christian disciple. The Primate is also in ordered ministry as a bishop, called to guard the faith, unity and discipline of our church. It is not an easy calling but it is exciting and challenging. I will look at the Primacy of the Anglican Church of Canada through three different lenses: the Anglican Communion; the Anglican Church of Canada; and the world Christ died to save.

It was the bishops of Canada who first requested a meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion. The Lambeth Conference continues to meet every ten years. In between the Primate has a primary ministry as the meeting point of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion. As such, the Primate’s ministry is in part the ministry of Ambassador, visiting many other provinces of the Communion while never forgetting he/she is a Canadian Anglican. At this time relationships within the Communion are at risk. Recognizing that every province has something to teach and much to learn, I believe we need to strengthen our commitment to the Communion and our common faith. This is not the time to allow ourselves to be excluded from the international conversation and it will never be right to forego our membership in the Communion and become a Canadian sect.

The Primate has a unique understanding of the particularities and catholicity of the dioceses and parishes of the Anglican Church of Canada. Once again there is a distressing tendency to think that we don’t need each other. The leadership of the Primate needs to call for unity via the ministries of discernment, encouragement and teaching. Having no jurisdiction, the Primate must lead by example and inspiration. While having a relationship with the whole Anglican Church of Canada, the Primate needs to nurture especially the relationship with the House of Bishops, Council of General Synod and Church House. Moral and prophetic leadership are especially important in times of crisis. Most essential are prayer and the study of the faith. In recent Anglican history, I recognize such personal holiness and prophetic leadership in numerous primates; Archbishops Desmond Tutu and Rowan Williams come particularly to mind. In Canada I would welcome the development of the office of the Primate as a teacher of the Christian faith.

The Canadian Primate embodies the memory and story of our church. As we continue in our pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters, the Primate, with the National Indigenous Bishop and others, will have a special ministry incorporating story and symbol in order to celebrate the faith and draw the faithful together in community. At this time when the General Synod is experiencing financial stress, and the viability of many parishes and dioceses is in question, I believe it is the vocation of the Primate to speak out on behalf of those less affluent dioceses. It is time for the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to offer leadership in stewardship education and to model cut-backs so to encourage the flourishing of the church at the local level.

Our Primate needs to have a voice that addresses and is in dialogue with our government leaders. Canada is not a Christian country but that doesn’t mean there is no place for the prophetic call to peace, justice and an ecologically sound environment. It is the Church’s vocation in Christ to waken the conscience of Canada. The Primate is best situated to deliver and articulate statements of our Church to the elected leaders of our nation. In terms of the global village it is the role of our Primate to work alongside other church leaders to address ethical and moral questions and to make statements about political issues. Both inside and outside Canada the Anglican Church needs to give voice to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in concert with other Christians, and in response to the leading of the Spirit.


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