Victoria Matthews withdraws as primatial candidate

Bishop Victoria Matthews of the diocese of Edmonton has announced that she will withdraw her name from the list of candidates for election to the office of Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

In a letter to her diocese, Bishop Matthews said:  “Earlier this week, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  This morning I saw the surgeon who expects to operate within the next two weeks.  The cancer is in both breasts.  Chemotherapy and probably radiation will follow.  I have been told I should expect to be on medical disability leave for up to one year”.

She also said in her letter that she would withdraw as a nominee for the office of bishop of Toronto.

Bishop Matthews, 50, is one of four Canadian bishops nominated as primatial candidates by the House of Bishops at a meeting in April.  The others are Bishop Ron Ferris of Algoma, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison of Montreal and Bishop Caleb Lawrence of Moosonee.

In her letter, Bishop Matthews wrote, “Please be assured that while this medical news was a surprise, I am at peace with what must be done.  The love of God is everlasting and I am strong in my faith in Jesus Christ, the great physician, and the healing power of the Holy Spirit.  Of course, I ask and welcome your prayers, and I’ll make sure your are informed, on a timely basis, about my progress.  There is the expectation of a full recovery.  As far as I am concerned, I have lots more ministry ahead of me”.

Archbishop David Crawley, Acting Primate, said in a letter to Canadian bishops that he was “deeply distressed” at the news about Bishop Matthews and asked bishops to consent to her withdrawal, as required by church law.

“At a time like this, words escape one”, he wrote, “but I know you join me in hoping and praying for a full recovery”.

Elected suffragan bishop of Toronto in 1994, Bishop Matthews was the first female bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.  When she was elected Bishop of Edmonton in 1997, she became the first female diocesan bishop.

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For more information, please contact:  Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); [email protected]  OR  Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod, 416-924-9199 ext. 280; [email protected]

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