Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Posted on April 20, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Peace be with you!

It was with these words that Jesus greeted the disciples, as they were gathered once again. For a whole week, Thomas tenaciously held on to grief and doubt while the others were waking up. Peace be with you! Jesus would say to them all. By touching the wounds of Friday, the Twin embraced the reality of Sunday. My Lord and my God! he would exclaim. Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Though with each passing generation we move further away from the moment that Thomas was awakened, the reality and the power of the resurrection, not bound by time, holds the same intensity for us who have not seen, yet believe. In fact, we are all blessed by the faith that comes to rest in our siblings in Christ.

For 45 years, Bishop Peter Fenty has served the Church with the deep joy, hope and love of Christ. His ministry has exemplified what it means to help a world move away from Friday and to lean into the glory of Sunday. It is with a deep sense of gratitude mingled with sorrow that I share the news that Bishop Peter will be retiring on feast day of St. Andrew, November 30, 2020. I know that you will receive this news, as I do, with a twinning of sadness and thankfulness. We have been blessed indeed!

Bishop Peter was ordained to the diaconate in 1975. He ministered in the dioceses of Barbados, Montreal and Toronto. For more than half of his ordained ministry, Peter functioned in the Diocese of Toronto as parish priest, Executive Officer to the Bishop of Toronto and Archdeacon of York, and Bishop Suffragan of Toronto.

For the last seven years, he served as the area bishop of York-Simcoe, supporting the parishes and ministries of the region with his keen pastoral insight and his considerable strategic wisdom.

Bishop Peter worked on several diocesan committees, including the Intercultural Committee, the Doctrine and Worship Committee, the Healing Ministry Committee and the Planning Committee for the Black History service. Bishop Peter has served on the wider councils of the Church, including the Partners in Mission and Social Justice committee as its chair for three years. In the past four years, he acted as the ACPO bishop for the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario.

We in the College of Bishops will miss Bishop Peter’s calm demeanor, his gift of prophetic vision, his deep humour and prayerful presence. Over the next several months we, as a diocese, will have ample opportunity to celebrate the ministry and the contributions to the life of our Church that he and his wife Annie have offered to all of us. In the meantime, our good wishes and deep prayers go to both of them as they begin this new transition in their lives. 

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto