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First lay person appointed Diocesan Executive Assistant to Archbishop

Mary Conliffe

Mary Conliffe has been appointed Diocesan Executive Assistant to the Archbishop, beginning on June 15.

Ms. Conliffe, who is currently the Bishop’s Office Administrator, succeeds Bishop-elect Peter Fenty, who will become the area bishop of York-Simcoe as of June 22. 

“I am delighted to make this appointment,” says Archbishop Colin Johnson. “This marks the first time that a lay person has held this important position but Mary is uniquely qualified for the role.” 

Ms. Conliffe holds an Honours Master of Divinity degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto, where she was both Head of College and later Head of Divinity. The daughter of an illustrious clerical family, she has an intimate knowledge of the life of clergy and their families.  She brings over a decade of experience in the Diocesan Centre and specifically the Bishop’s Office. She is a parishioner at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Toronto, where she serves as subdeacon and has headed up the parish’s FaithWorks campaigns. 

For the past two years, Ms. Conliffe has been the first interviewer of applicants for ordination in the Diocese and has administered the postulancy process.  She is an Anglican representative on the national Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, serves on Trinity College’s Corporation and Divinity Associates and has been a member of the Diocesan Doctrine and Worship Committee. She is married and has a young son.

The Diocesan Executive Assistant is responsible for policy and administrative support for the Bishop of Toronto, the oversight of the Bishop’s Office (including Chaplaincy and Deacons), the selection process leading to ordination, secretary and consultant to the College of Bishops and represents the Bishop as requested.

“I am sure that Mary will continue to fulfil the responsibilities of this ministry with gracious distinction that were so excellently completed by Bishop-elect Fenty, and I am confident that with our support, this transition will be a smooth one,” said Archbishop Johnson.

“I am truly honoured by this appointment and I am so grateful to the Archbishop for his confidence,” said Ms. Conliffe.  “I deeply love this Church and all its clergy and people, and I am looking forward to the new challenges that this ministry will bring.”

When Bishop-elect Fenty is consecrated as a bishop, Archbishop Johnson will confer the historical title of Archdeacon of York, which he currently holds, on the Rev. Canon Elizabeth Hardy as the senior priest on Diocesan staff. She continues in her role as Secretary of Synod and Chief Administrative Officer, providing leadership of the Diocese’s Synodical governance. In order to streamline structures, the director of Congregational Development will report to the Chief Administrative Officer rather than to the Diocesan Executive Assistant.