THE Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, is to resign after ten years in the post. She says that she wants time to reflect on her future.
Bishop Matthews, who is 63, made it clear in her resignation statement that she was not retiring, or leaving owing to ill health. This is her second resignation as a bishop, having resigned the see of Edmonton in her native Canada in 2007, after similarly serving ten years there (News 9 August 2007).
She said then, too, that she was neither ill nor making any kind of protest by her resignation, but felt that God was calling her in a new direction. She had been treated for breast cancer in 2004, but returned to work sooner than expected. She was translated to Christchurch a year later.
Her ten years in Christchurch have been dogged by disagreements over the future of Christ Church Cathedral after it was damaged by a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The earthquake in 2011 destroyed its spire and part of the tower, and damaged the structure of the remaining building (News, 22 February 2011).
Bishop Matthews recommended demolishing the cathedral and building a replacement; there were greater concerns facing the Church, she told the synod, such as child poverty and climate change. The decision provoked outrage, and the synod later voted to restore the cathedral. The congregation have since worshipped in a “cardboard cathedral” (News, 20 July 2012).
She will step down on 1 May. In her resignation statement, she said: “I am going to take some time to reflect on what it is that God is now calling me to do. . . I am merely following where my Saviour is leading me, wherever that may be.”