The Rt. Rev. Jennifer A. Andison

Ordination Dates

Deacon: 1997, Diocese of Ontario
Priest: 1999, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop: 2017, Diocese of Toronto

Age: 46

Academic Background and 3 most important Professional Qualifications

Doctor of Divinity (Hon. Causa), Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, 2016
Master of Divinity, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, 1997
Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), Queen’s Univ., 1994 (Political Studies, Comparative Religion)
Canterbury Cathedral, UK, “On Being a Bishop” Training Conference, 2018
“Living Our Vows” Episcopal Church Training Program for New Bishops, 2017
Member of the Board of Trustees, Havergal College, 2009-2015

Parish Placements and Ministry History

York-Credit Valley, Diocese of Toronto: Area Bishop (2016 – present)
Responsible for overseeing Anglican ministry in a diverse, rapidly growing area of the GTA

Global Christian Forum, Bogotá, Colombia: Representing the Anglican Communion (2018) 
Anglican representative at an ecumenical dialogue between “Historic” and “New” Churches

St. Clement’s Church, Eglinton: Incumbent (2013 – 2016)
Reshaped key aspects of ministry that enabled growth of Sunday attendance by 23%

Diocese of Toronto: Archbishop’s Officer for Mission (2010-2013)
Led in the pioneering of a culture of missional ministry across the Diocese of Toronto

St. Paul’s Church, Bloor Street: Associate Priest for Church Development (2006-2013)
Built The Bridge into a flourishing community and oversaw the formation of new believers

St. James’s Church (Diocese of London, UK): Associate Vicar (2001-2005)
Ministered in this resource-strapped inner-city parish re-boot

St. Timothy’s Church, Agincourt: Assistant Curate (1998-2000)
Gained critical experience serving in a multi-ethnic parish in a rapidly changing context

St. Alban’s Church (Diocese of Tokyo, Japan): Deacon (1997-1998)
Introduced and led the first Alpha course in Japan

Parish of Lansdowne Rear (Diocese of Ontario): 3 point rural parish (1997)

Describe your spiritual journey and your prayer life:

As a child, I lived in rural Pakistan where my parents were medics with the Church of England. At seventeen, I spent a transformational gap year in India and – having explored other faiths – made my own decision to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. My prayer life is now rooted in the Daily Office, nourished by nightly devotions with our teenage daughters, and encouraged by my spiritual director and annual retreats. One of my joys as a bishop has been the deepening of my prayer life as I pray for the clergy and people of each of the congregations of York-Credit Valley – particularly for our unity and continuous renewal.

What is the most significant leadership role you have played in your Diocese?  What was your role and how did it contribute to your development and the mission of the Church?

As an Area Bishop, I have sought to contribute to the mission of the Church by refocusing the Area’s priorities to help position our congregations to thrive both spiritually and numerically. Via a consultative process with laity and clergy in two Town Halls, I have realigned the Area’s financial and personnel resources to enhance support for the vital areas of youth ministry, parish and clergy coaching, prayer and discipleship formation.  I have modified some of the Area’s leadership structures, notably Area Council to enhance its strategic focus. Mindful of my responsibility as the chief evangelist and teacher of the faith in York-Credit Valley, I have led multi-week courses for people who are spiritually searching or wanting to deepen their faith in Christ, which has also contributed to my own development.

What is the most significant challenge you have faced as a priest or bishop to date?  How did you address that challenge?

One significant and complex challenge has been developing a strategy for our parishes in Brampton (the fastest growing part of Ontario) to grasp the opportunities for mission there.  In my early days as Bishop, I gathered clergy together to pray and discern the future. In due course, we organized a Town Hall to engage people and share our vision for renewal and the beginning of new worshipping communities to serve the linguistic diversity and young demographic. A task force is now preparing, within the next year, a “Mission Action Plan” to reposition and encourage the churches in Brampton so they may flourish and grow.  

Describe what you intend to do in your first 100 days as the Diocesan Bishop (between January 1, 2019 and March 31, 2019) to address the vision of the Diocese of Toronto and Growing in Christ, the strategic plan?

Renewal and growth are possible in the Diocese, and our strategic plan sets the stage, calling us to be unified for the sake of the gospel. In the first 100 days, I would focus on priorities within the Focus Areas that will enable momentum and confidence to build. Meeting with key groups, I would listen to their concerns and hopes for how the plan is unfolding.  I would encourage the five Working Groups to now move forward to effectively resource the development of the next generation of young leaders, while ensuring our physical assets and governance structures enable parish renewal, reconfigurations, and church planting.

Given the realities of numeric decline in congregational participation and the need to steward our resources (including people and capital resources), how would you address the present situation?  What do you see as the future of an Anglican presence in the geographic area of the Diocese?

The recent history of decline does not need to be the long-term future of the Diocese. I would call us, firstly, to a renewal of our prayer lives, secondly, to reclaiming the ministry of forming disciples of Jesus, and thirdly, to winsome and bold preaching of the gospel of grace.  I have served a range of parishes, across the theological and liturgical spectrum, that now are vital and healthy because of these steps. I would ensure that congregations, big and small, receive both the resources–such as coaching and mission action plans–and the encouragement necessary to articulate the future to which God is calling them. Congregations would then be equipped to focus their resources on shaping disciples and on innovative ministry to the next generation. We have a strategic physical footprint, across the geographic area of the Diocese, and need to prioritize matching these assets with the right leadership for their changing contexts.  Caring for the poor and those on the margins, we must pay close attention to immigration patterns (especially with Anglicans from around the world), the evolving nature of rural communities, and the spiritual hunger of the young.

Video transcript