Surrounded by delegates and guests gathered for the Assembly of the Territory of the People in Quesnel BC, and in the presence of the Primate, the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, accompanied by the Rt. Rev. Mary Irwin-Gibson, the Bishop of Montreal, Bishop Andrews announced her intention to retire Dec 31, 2019. By that time, she will have served as Bishop Suffragan for the Territory of the People for over ten years.
Hours before her announcement a policy to elect a Bishop was approved at the Assembly, which sets out a process which can immediately commence with the hope of an Electoral Assembly on September 28, 2019 and the seating of the next Bishop in early January 2020.
In her resignation speech, Bishop Andrews, said: “When I became Bishop Suffragan in 2009, I envisioned a different ministry, but found my role was to give leadership to a process of moving the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior from under the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon, to becoming once again an independent Anglican identity with all the rights and responsibilities of a diocese.”
Bishop Andrews sees this evolution as one more step along the journey to healing and reconciliation, and as a way to truly embrace the whole people of God in this area as suggested in the new name: Territory of the People. The name was given to the Territory by the Territory Pastoral Elders, the Indigenous Council and the Coordinating Council, to be inclusive of all people who walk together sharing the love of Creator God.
Seeing the need for the Territory to embrace new models of ministry, Bishop Andrews worked with a team to develop an understanding of collaborative ministry within the Territory and installed the first leadership team to oversee a parish church with locally trained priests, deacons and lay leaders.
Bishop Andrews added: “What I will miss most in retirement is the privilege of sharing in ministry with an outstanding team of clergy and laity who have been courageous in finding new ways to be God’s people in the Territory.”
Barbara Andrews grew up in Fort McMurray, Alberta in a Métis family of nine children. She recently obtained her Status as a member of the Enoch Cree Nation. She is the mother of David and Patricia who are the great joys in her life. She is a life-long learner who attended St John’s Theological College at the University of Manitoba. During a recent Sabbatical at the Chicago Theological Union, she worked with Dr. Robert Schreiter on reconciliation initiatives.
Ordained a Deacon (1997) and Priest (1998) in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land by Bishop Patrick Lee, Bishop Andrews was consecrated in 2009 by Archbishop John Privett to serve the once titled Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. Elsewhere she has served in parish ministry, in an inner-city shared mission project, and as Executive Director of the Sorrento Centre.
She is deeply committed to the empowering of all people in their baptismal ministry. Her education and experience have taught her the healing power of a life of prayer, and the transforming and restorative power of God’s love, especially when the Christian community reaches out in acts of social justice and love to the most vulnerable of our society.
The text of Bishop Andrews retirement announcement is below:
My dear Friends:
On Oct 18 of this year, I will celebrate the tenth anniversary of my ordination as your Bishop. I have loved being your Bishop – it has been for me both the most humbling experience and the greatest privilege to serve with many fine clergy and lay leaders over this past ten years. I have loved each of my parish visits in times of great joy, and even in times of sadness and struggle, as we always worked together to find a way forward.
When God called me to be among you as your Bishop, I envisioned a much different ministry, but I found my role was to give leadership to a process of moving the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior from under the umbrella of the Province of BC & Yukon to becoming once again an Anglican Identity with the rights and responsibilities of a diocese. During my episcopal ministry, in my visits with each parish and to the many gatherings we held, I learnt some important truths about the people who God had gifted me to share in ministry with.
The first truth is the deep commitment to be the family of God despite the horrors of our history, and along with your deep commitment to walk together to healing and reconciliation has been paramount in your sharing with me – you were prepared to give up all to stay in the family of God here in this place.
The Second truth was your desire for the right to elect your own Bishop under your terms.
The Third truth, you knew you needed to embrace new ways of being church and doing the mission of God in this place. I witnessed how faithful you were in prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to take you on a journey that brought us here to today. As you moved to becoming the Territory of the People, you held firmly to your commitments, made right here in Quesnel in 2000 as you let go of the Diocese of Cariboo. You held firmly to the affirmations you adopted as you became the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, and I believe you have been able to maintain the best of who you have been and are as you walk together into a hope filled future.
I have a deep sense that God is calling me to retirement as Bishop, now that we have completed this part of the journey together. Coordinating Council this morning has made way for me to retire and to begin the process of electing a new bishop over the summer and it is my prayer that on September 28th, you will gather to elect your new Bishop. With this in mind, early today, I sent a letter to the Metropolitan, stating my intention to retire at the end of the 2019.
Retirement for me has many exciting possibilities and I will take time to discover them. However, what I will miss most in retirement is the privilege of sharing in ministry with an outstanding team of clergy and laity who have been courageous in finding new ways to be God’s people as the Territory of the People. I pray you will live into your theme for this Assembly, as you go forward to build, renew and strengthen by walking together in unity.