The Very Rev. Andrew J. Asbil

Ordination Dates

Deacon: June 5, 1988 (Diocese of Niagara)
Priest:  May 7, 1989 (Diocese of Niagara)

Age: 57

Academic Background

Master of Divinity (Hons)          Huron College University, 1985-88
Bachelor of Science                 University of Waterloo, 1980-85

Parish Placements and Ministry History

2016 to present: Dean of Toronto and Rector of St. James Cathedral

  • 55+ staff, $4m operating budget
  • increased financial stewardship by 20% in two years

2001 to 2016: Incumbent, Church of the Redeemer, Toronto, Ontario

  • 15+ staff, developed and managed three successive three-year strategic plans
  • Average weekly attendance increased by 30% and doubled annual operating budget
  • Conducted $2.1 million campaign for renovation and accessibility of building

1994 to 2001: Incumbent, Church of the Incarnation, Oakville, Ontario

  • Developed strategic plan to lead a church plant from school cafeteria into a new church home, raised the capital, tripled stewardship levels, parish doubled in size.

1991 to 1994: Incumbent, St. Alban’s Church, Acton, Ontario

  • restorative pastoral guidance and leadership in community that was divided

1988 to 1991: Assistant Curate, St. George’s Church, Guelph, Ontario

Diocese of Toronto: Chair, Remuneration and Compensation 2016 to present; Executive Board, 2008-2009,2016 to present; Diocesan Council, 2005-2009, 2016 to present; Reach Grant Assessor 2014 to present; Chair, Ministry Resources Board, 2005-2008; Chair, Ministry Case Assessment Team, 2005-2009; Human Resources Committee, 2002-2004

National Church: Chair of Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, 2010 to 2016; Chair, Liturgy Task Force, 2010 to 2016; General Synod delegate, 2007, 2010, 2013

Keynote Speaker:  Stewardship Education Network and the Anglican Church of Canada, Saskatoon and Chateauguay, Quebec, 2017; Diocese of Algoma Synod, 2017; Diocese of Ottawa clergy conference, 2013; Diocese of Niagara clergy conference, 2012; Diocese of Nova Scotia and P.E.I clergy retreat, 2012; Chautauqua Institution Episcopal Chaplain, 2011

Describe your spiritual journey and your prayer life:

At the root of my life is a deep faith in God made known in Jesus Christ. From infancy, church and family played a central role in nurturing this gift. The call to priesthood emerged in my teenage years and was affirmed while studying science at university.  My belief has infused 30 years of ministry from small town to suburb to inner city. My faith has grown deeper and permeates all I do. I recognize scripture in everyday experiences. Word and sacrament deepens my conviction. The Daily Office and meditation grounds me in the work at hand. Praying with the community feeds my soul. It is the working of this faith that helps me to lean into the future with courage and hope.

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 Dean of Toronto, Rector of St James Cathedral and Priest in Charge of St. Bart’s Regent Park, I lead a worshipping community and a mission that is tethered to every parish in our diocese. The Cathedral is rooted in the imagination of our city as a place of sanctuary and prayer. The Dean has a unique voice in the public square to raise matters of faith, justice and mercy. The role enables me to hold in creative tension the contemporary and the traditional, support the community of clergy, commit to issues such as the TRC calls to action, support the growth of Mandarin ministry and develop a strong lay leadership.

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

I continue to address the same challenge, to keep the faith in Jesus Christ and grow the Church in an age of declining membership. I intentionally invite the community to discover a vision for ministry that is missional. I inspire leaders both lay and staff to embrace the vocation that is uniquely their own in the call to serve. I support innovation and living with imagination. I contain anxiety in time of change by pointing to the future. I step into conflict with humility and openness. I infuse all that we do with prayer, scripture, and reflection.

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?

I intend to set the tone by building trust, transparency and collaborative relationships with our bishops, clergy and lay leaders who know well what we face together. As Chair of Remuneration and Compensation committees, I understand the complexity of the issues that our strategic plan intends to address. I have had considerable experience bringing strategic plans into action in three parishes. Implementation groups for each focus area will be formed, a plan of action articulated, and timelines set. Consensus will need to be built so we can proceed with vision and determination.

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?

A steward cares for the house. The household does not belong to us; it belongs to God. The Bishop walks ahead to encourage us to grow into the future. At the same time the Bishop walks behind to encourage faithful ministries that are struggling to keep up. The Church is called to move; to keep everything the same is no longer an option. In order to thrive in the future, our lay and clergy leaders need to learn how to grow and adapt to change, encourage healthy missional communities, collaborate in ministry with their neighbours, plant new ministries where the soil is right, reboot where communities are stuck and help some parishes close with dignity and thanksgiving.  Our properties, buildings and investments are one legacy of our ancestors in faith.  We need to find imaginative ways to respectfully re-purpose our legacy rather than simply selling off our past. We need to talk about money and challenge financial stewardship. I imagine a future where communities live with a renewed sense of mission and ministry.

Video Transcript