The Primate exercises a multi-faceted ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada. Overall, he is responsible for leading the church in discerning and pursuing the mission of God.
Personal visits are a hallmark of the Primate’s ministry. He travels widely to maintain pastoral and spiritual relationships throughout the church. Across Canada, he shares in parish and diocesan celebrations, meets with large and small groups of people, leads parish and diocesan retreats or conferences, and preaches in different settings.
The Primate’s sacramental role differs from that of other bishops, as he has no diocese. As outlined in Canon 3 (revised June 2010), the Primate’s sacramental role includes participating in the consecration of new bishops and presiding at liturgical events of General Synod. He participates in ordinations and confirmations at the invitation of the local diocesan bishop.
On an administrative level, the Primate serves as president of the General Synod, chair of the Council of General Synod, and chair of the House of Bishops. He also serves as chief executive officer of General Synod staff, most of whom work at the national office in Toronto.
On certain occasions, the Primate speaks in the name of the Anglican Church of Canada in accordance with the policies of the General Synod or the Council of General Synod. As well, he represents the church nationally and internationally, often in ecumenical partnerships and dialogues.
Primates are elected by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada through a process in which the bishops offer nominations to the clergy and lay members of synod who then elect a leader. The Primate serves until age 70.