Archbishop Anne Germond is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews as the Episcopal Administrator for the Diocese of Moosonee with oversight for St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Timmins, effective November 1st, 2022. Bishop Matthews will reside in the rectory in the community of South Porcupine during her time in the Diocese of Moosonee.
Bishop Matthews was the first woman ordained bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1994. Following her consecration, she served as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Toronto. In 1997 she was elected the Bishop of Edmonton, serving that diocese for ten years. Bishop Matthews recalls learning about the ‘frontier spirit’ during her ministry in Edmonton, which she put down to the weather. “Because, when it gets seriously cold, you need each other. If your car breaks down, you know that the next person will stop and help you.” We are certain that Bishop Matthews will discover that same sense of community and northern hospitality when she arrives in Northern Ontario to take up her new ministry.
In 2008 Bishop Matthews was elected Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand. It was during her tenure as diocesan that a series of 12,000 earthquakes, including a devastating quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter magnitude scale struck the South Island in 2011. Nearly 80 per cent of the 170 churches in her diocese were damaged by the quake and 20 of them were completely destroyed.
The Diocese of Christchurch coordinated a ‘triage’ response to the disaster whereby clergy were asked to look after their immediate family and any vulnerable individuals first, and then to start looking after their parish community. The result of these efforts by the Anglicans was an ecumenical group called The Canterbury Community Response who ended up visiting over 81,000 homes following the quakes.
Through these difficult and challenging times Bishop Matthews continually preached a message of hope as people looked for good news in the midst of their tragic circumstances. She also spoke a lot about resilience which she describes as not denying the difficulties or the hard times, but understanding what you can and can’t do, and that in those difficult times we are never alone.1. God is always with us.
As we continue to live through a time of pandemic with many communities in Moosonee wondering what hope looks like Bishop Matthews will bring that same message with her.
Bishop Matthews retired as Bishop of Christchurch in 2018 and returned to her home in Toronto. Last year Archbishop Anne invited Bishop Matthews to do a six month interim at St. Michael’s and All Angels in Thunder Bay. In that short time Bishop Matthews helped the parish redefine their mission and ministry, and by speaking frankly about stewardship challenged them to finish the year in the ‘black’, which they did.
Bishop Matthews is delighted with the appointment to Moosonee and St. Matthew’s Cathedral and is looking forward to joining the Diocese of Moosonee community this fall.
“I fell in love with Northern Ontario when I spent last winter in Thunder Bay. Once again I will have much to learn but I believe the prayers of the people of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit will show us the way forward. I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Anne and Archbishop Fred for their invitation to serve in this ministry. To God be the glory.”
We extend a warm Moosonee welcome to Bishop Matthews and assure her of our prayers as she prepares for this new ministry.
(Footnotes: The quotes from Bishop Matthews are taken from The Messenger (Margaret Glidden interview) – Diocese of Edmonton, September 2020.)