Skip To Content
From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

One of the great joys of emerging from Covid’s pandemic restrictions has been the return to large liturgical celebrations. And this Sunday will be particularly joyful!

As I mentioned in my Friday letter of Dec. 16, the Diocese has four new archdeacons and one new canon administrator – Archdeacon John Anderson, Archdeacon Theadore Hunt, Archdeacon Steven Mackison, Archdeacon Cheryl Palmer and Canon Laura Walton – to assist the College of Bishops primarily in exercising the administrative functions of episcopal ministry. The Service of Collation at St. James Cathedral on Sunday afternoon will be a true celebration. Please join us at 4:30 p.m., either in person at the cathedral or online on our YouTube channel, as we commission and pray for these faithful servants in their new ministry.

I have now communicated to the new archdeacons and canon administrator where I have assigned them. As part of its work, the Episcopal Leadership Implementation Team spent a great deal of time determining numerically equitable territorial archdeaconries, comprising three or four contiguous deaneries each. The College and Synod Council concurred with its proposal in December, and the suffragan bishops and I have discussed and divided the territories amongst ourselves for our day-to-day oversight of parishes and ministries in this next chapter in the life of our Diocese. Our expectation continues to be that bishops will serve the whole Diocese and will, over time, rotate amongst the archdeaconries in order to have a personal relationship with every parish and deanery. For the immediate future, this is the current structure of direct episcopal oversight:

The North Archdeaconry will consist of the deaneries of Holland, Huronia, Nottawasaga and Victoria-Haliburton, and will be served by Canon Laura Walton. Bishop Riscylla Shaw will be the suffragan bishop with oversight in the North.

The Central Archdeaconry will consist of the deaneries of Eglinton, Scarborough, York Central and York Mills, and will be served by Archdeacon Theadore Hunt. I will take direct episcopal oversight of the Central Archdeaconry.

The South Archdeaconry will consist of the deaneries of Parkdale-Toronto West, St. James and Toronto East, and will be served by Archdeacon Cheryl Palmer. Bishop Kevin Robertson will be the suffragan bishop with oversight in the South.

The East Archdeaconry will consist of the deaneries of Durham-Northumberland, Oshawa and Peterborough, and will be served by Archdeacon John Anderson. The suffragan bishop for the East will be Bishop Riscylla Shaw.

The West Archdeaconry will consist of the deaneries of Etobicoke-Humber, Mississauga, North Peel and Tecumseth, and will be served by Archdeacon Steven Mackison. The suffragan bishop for the West will be Bishop Kevin Robertson.

A helpful map and this chart have been prepared to illustrate these new territorial archdeaconries and the episcopal ministry team for each.

I want to emphasize an important point: territorial archdeaconries are not new “areas” of the Diocese. They do not have a function or identity beyond demarcating the deployment of archdeacons, and to some extent bishops’ particular oversight. The existing area councils will continue for now. The deaneries will become the primary locus for our corporate life and ministry together; if you do not know your parish’s deanery, please use our Find a Church feature to find out what it is. The current deanery boundaries and the regional deans themselves remain unchanged.

I also want to say that the College has spent quite some time discussing how our transition will unfold. While the archdeacons and the canon administrator can begin their work in their archdeaconries immediately, for we bishops who are handing off “active files” to each other, please be patient as we make those moves. This is a good opportunity to live into what I have already mentioned: every bishop in this Diocese is a bishop to the whole, and we hope, in the fullness of time, to have a relationship with each parish and every cleric in the Diocese, wherever you may be. In fact, further to this point, we have determined as a College that we will keep our engagements that have already been made in our calendars for 2023. If you have an episcopal visit in the coming months, you can expect to see the bishop you’ve already booked. Having said that, however, if you would prefer to make a change to your “new” bishop (assuming a switch is possible), we have agreed to stand down – no hard feelings – as we want to support the forging of new relationships. Just call the bishops’ assistants to see what’s possible.

This coming Tuesday, the College of Bishops, their administrative assistants and the new archdeacons and canon administrator are meeting for the whole day, to start our work together. We are grateful to God for building this new leadership team with such varied gifts, experience, passions and perspectives. I ask the Diocese to welcome John, Theadore, Steven, Cheryl and Laura into their new ministries and roles, and to pray for this new model of shared episcopal ministry in our Diocese. May we seek to serve Christ, the Diocese and our wider communities, guided by the Holy Spirit and filled with God’s love.

See you Sunday!

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto

P.S. For those who were wondering, clergy in the nave at Sunday’s Service of Collation do not need to vest.