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Bishop Matthews quits

09 August 2007

THE first and only woman bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews (pictured right), is resigning the see of Edmonton, Alberta, to which she was elected in 1997, writes Pat Ashworth.

Bishop Matthews, who is 53, made the announcement in a letter read out in churches on Sunday. She confirmed that she was neither ill nor making any kind of protest against the Anglican Church, but simply believed that God was calling her in a different direction.

“I am well and I love our Church,” she wrote. “I am Anglican and hope always to minister in accordance with the grace and mercy of Christ our Saviour.”

Bishop Matthews, consecrated in 1993, has twice been a candidate for the Canadian primacy. Although diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, she was able to return to work earlier than expected.

Being Bishop of Edmonton had been “a blessing beyond what words can express”, her letter said. “For over two years [God’s call] has been present in my prayers and the time has come to say ‘yes’ to the prompting of the Spirit.”

Bishop Matthews chaired the Primate’s Theological Commission that produced the St Michael report on same-sex blessing (News, 22 June). The Commission concluded that it was consistent with the core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada, but was not a matter of credal doctrine. The Canadian Synod agreed, but stopped short of authorising dioceses to carry them out.

Bishop Matthews said on that occasion: “I don’t think there were any winners. We know that people on both sides . . . leave tonight with a profound sense of sadness that the body of Christ is broken.”

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