Process of succession to position of Acting Primate

On April 2, the Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor wrote a memorandum to the House of Bishops and Council of General Synod outlining the process of succession to the position of Acting Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. The text of the memorandum is as follows:

As the senior officers of General Synod, we felt it appropriate for us to share as widely as possible, in a timely fashion, what is known about the process of succession to the position of Acting Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Canon III, the canon on the Primate, requires the Primate to retire upon reaching their seventieth birthday, which the present Primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, will do this October. This canon also provides for the appointment of an Acting Primate, who shall be “the Provincial Metropolitan senior by election, able and willing to act.”

The Chancellor has been asked for, and has provided, an opinion on the interpretation of this part of the canon. That opinion is attached to this memorandum. In essence, it finds that Archbishop Anne Germond, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, is the senior Provincial Metropolitan, by virtue of having the longest current term of office.

Therefore, should Archbishop Linda announce a retirement date that is effective before a metropolitical election is held in the Province of Ontario, Archbishop Anne would become the Acting Primate – assuming she is willing and able to act. Moreover, she would continue in that role until the next primatial election, which is scheduled to take place in June, 2025.

The Chancellor’s letter indicates that the other Provincial Metropolitans concur in their desire to see Archbishop Anne become the Acting Primate. We are also informed that the National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop is aware of these consultations.

Our understanding of the next steps in this process is: first, that it is at Archbishop Linda’s discretion to choose when and how to announce her retirement date; and second, that it would then fall to Archbishop Anne to confirm whether she is, in the language of the canon, “able and willing to act.” We will ensure that these subsequent steps are communicated widely throughout the church, as and when they happen.

We ask your prayers for Archbishops Linda, Chris, Anne, the other Provincial Metropolitans, the officers and staff of the General Synod, and all those involved with and affected by this transition.

Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Canon Ian Alexander, Prolocutor
Archdeacon Tanya Phibbs, Deputy Prolocutor


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