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ACC celebrates 30th anniversary of women’s ordination as bishops

BY  ON 

Bishop Victoria Matthews

This month, the Anglican Church of Canada marks the 30th anniversary of the day it first consecrated a woman as bishop. The Right Reverend Victoria Matthews was consecrated as bishop on February 12, 1994. She is currently the episcopal administrator of the Anglican Diocese of Moosonee and bishop in residence for St. Matthew’s Anglican Cathedral in Timmins.

Bishop Matthews was only the fifth woman to be consecrated as bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Barbara Harris of the Episcopal Church in the United States had been the first, in 1989.

“Over the past fifty years, the Anglican Church of Canada has opened itself to the leadership of ordained women, first as priests and then as bishops,” said Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “Their gifts and perspectives have enriched our church, bringing different points of view on scripture, ministry, human relationships and world events.”

Bishop Matthews served first as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Toronto. In 1997, she was elected the Bishop of Edmonton, serving that diocese for ten years. In 2008, she became Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand. In the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, the Diocese of Christchurch, under Bishop Matthews’ leadership, supported an effort by Anglicans that visited more than 81,000 homes. Bishop Matthews resigned as Bishop of Christchurch in 2018 and was appointed to her role in the Diocese of Moosonee in 2022.

In the 30 years since Bishop Matthews’ consecration, 21 more women have been elected as bishops in Canada. The Anglican Church of Canada will honour Bishop Matthews and celebrate women bishops with an online panel discussion on February 26.