Anglican Diocese of New Westminster
Diocese of New Westminster
|Ecclesiastical province||British Columbia and Yukon|
|Cathedral||Christ Church Cathedral (Vancouver)|
|Bishop||The Most Rev. Melissa M. Skelton|
The Diocese of New Westminster is one of five dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon of the Anglican Church of Canada. The see city is Vancouver. The current bishop is Melissa Skelton. Skelton was consecrated and installed March 1, 2014. She is the ninth bishop of the diocese, the first woman, the first American and the first person who had a previous career prior to ordination to the priesthood to be elected bishop of the 140-year-old diocese. On May 12, 2018, Melissa Skelton was elected Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC/Yukon which includes the use of the honorific "Archbishop". Melissa M. Skelton was the first woman to be elected archbishop in the Anglican Church of Canada and the second woman to have that title throughout the world wide Anglican Communion. The Dean of New Westminster and Rector of the Cathedral Church, Christ Church, is Peter Elliott and the Executive Archdeacon of the Diocese is G. Douglas Fenton.
The diocese encompasses about 78,000 square kilometres of the Lower Mainland in the civil province of British Columbia, comprising the Regional Districts of Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, Powell River and part of the Regional District of Squamish-Lillooet (including Squamish and Whistler).
The diocese was founded in New Westminster in 1879, but with the phenomenal growth of the City of Vancouver, the see city was moved there in 1912. There are, therefore, two churches styled as "cathedrals" in the diocese — Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver has been the cathedral since 1929, while Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster was the cathedral from 1892 to that date. Although no longer a cathedral, the Diocesan Synod allowed Holy Trinity to keep the title "cathedral" as a courtesy for historical reasons (it is, strictly speaking, a pro-cathedral).
The diocese has 66 active parishes and 3 emerging faith communities with approximately 18,000 members on its parish rolls according to the recent statistics stated in the official publication Topic.
The diocese has traditionally been at the forefront of progressive causes in the Anglican Communion. In 1976, David Somerville was one of the first bishops of the Canadian Church to ordain women. In 2002, the diocese became the centre of an international controversy within the Anglican Communion due to its decision to bless same-sex unions. Several conservative ecclesiastical provinces in the Communion, particularly those in Africa, have severed relations with the diocese over the issue (see Homosexuality and the Anglican Communion).
At the May 11, 2016 meeting of Diocesan Council the governing body of the Diocese of New Westminster, Council unanimously passed the following motion: That Diocesan Council, on behalf of the Diocese of New Westminster: I. Accept the invitation of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines to enter into a companion relationship seeking opportunities for prayer, mutual learning, and witness to the gospel (the "Companion Relationship"); II. undertake an annual evaluation of the Companion Relationship to ensure that the Companion Relationship satisfies the mutual goals of the two dioceses (the "Annual Evaluations"); and III. ask the Bishop to appoint members from the Diocese of New Westminster to a joint-diocesan working group to oversee the Companion Relationship and to undertake the Annual Evaluations. Bishop Brent Alawas of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines] travelled from Bontoc to Vancouver on May 12, 2016 and was present as a guest speaker at the diocesan mission conference on May 14, 2016
The diocesan offices, gathering space, meeting rooms and archives are located at 1410 Nanton Avenue in the Shaughnessy section of the City of Vancouver, BC. V6H 2E2
Coat of arms and badge
The Coat of Arms and Badge are both official marks for the diocese. In practice, the crest is generally used more when the bishop is involved directly, and the badge when specifically referencing only the diocese.
The Coat of Arms, with much history behind it, was acquired by Bishop Gower in 1960.
The Badge (a blue circle, gold cross and birds over white wave) was created for the diocesan Communications Committee with the help of Robert Watt, Chief Herald of Canada and officially adopted at the 2007 Diocesan Synod
The badge is a proper heraldic symbol for use on diocesan and parish materials. It incorporates key elements of the diocesan Coat of Arms, but is less detailed, and the Badge is easier to reproduce properly than the very detailed Coat of Arms.
Bishops of New Westminster
|3rd||Adam de Pencier||1910–1940||Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, 1925–1940|
|4th||Sir Francis Heathcote||1940–1951|
|5th||Godfrey Gower||1951–1971||Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, 1969–1971|
|6th||David Somerville||1971–1980||Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, 1975–1980|
|7th||Douglas Hambidge||1980–1993||Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, 1981–1993|
- Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver
- Anglican Church of Canada
- Peter Elliott
- Michael Ingham
- Sir Francis Heathcote, 9th Baronet