Victoria Matthews confirmed as new bishop of Christchurch: CEN 3.20.08 p 6 March 21, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
An American and a Canadian have been appointed bishops in the Anglican Church of New Zealand. On March 16, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia confirmed that the former Bishop of Edmonton (Canada), the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews had been elected Bishop of Christchurch, and that the Dean of Dunedin, the Very Rev. David Rice, was elected Bishop of Waiapu.
Currently bishop-in-residence at Wycliffe College, Toronto, Bishop Matthews (54) served as Bishop of Edmonton from 1997 to 2007, and came second in the race for Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada at its General Synod last June.
The Primate of the church in New Zealand, Archbishop Brown Turei said he looked forward to welcoming Bishop Matthews into the church of these islands. “I’m sure that, with all her experience, she will make a good contribution to our life and witness.”
News of Bishop Matthews’ proposed appointment was leaked midway through the election process. In New Zealand, bishops are elected by a diocesan synod. The bishop-elect’s name is then sent to the House of Bishops for confirmation, and then to the General Synod for confirmation. Only after all three bodies have endorsed the choice, is the name announced.
The New Zealand Church dismissed assertions that Bishop Matthews would be a
“controversial” choice. “Despite media speculation, Bishop Matthews is careful and moderate on controversial issues such as the blessing of same-sex relationships. Indeed, she is known internationally for her theological orthodoxy and her resolve to maintain unity,” the statement announcing her election said.
“Speaking personally, I think a number of things stand in the way of blessing same-gender marriages or unions,” Bishop Matthews said in the New Zealand statement.
The church needs to decide whether gay marriage is a “faithful development of the Christian doctrine of marriage,” while also reconciling clashes between diverging “personal and corporate conscience.”
“By taking the time to do the theology thoroughly and well, we will ease the acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. To be impatient is to risk even further hate and violence against those we have ignored for too long,” she explained.
Born and educated in the United States, Bishop-elect David Rice emigrated to New Zealand ten years ago and was received into the Anglican Church after serving seven years in the Methodist Church in America. The Dean of Dunedin for the past six years, Bishop-elect Rice stated he was pleased to become bishop “of a moderate to liberal diocese. If anybody looks at my track record, they’ll see that’s a very good fit.”