Subfonds - Episcopal sous-fonds

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Episcopal sous-fonds

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    • 1880-1893, 1910-1995, predominant 1910-1995 (Creation)
      Anglican Church of Canada. Diocese of New Westminster. Bishop

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    1.5 m of textual records

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    Administrative history

    The first Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, Acton Windeyer Sillitoe, was consecrated in 1879, on All Saints' Day, in the Croydon parish church in Surrey, Diocese of Canterbury, United Kingdom. The boundaries of the newly created diocese of New Westminster were defined at the same date. Six months later Bishop A.W. Sillitoe and his wife sailed for Canada and started to exercise his functions. The Diocese has since elected seven succeeding bishops, to 2001. Consequent to the consecration act, the Bishop is empowered and authorized, "to do, perform, and execute all and singular those things which belong to [the] Pastoral Office in respect to such consecration... according to the Laws Statutes and Canons on this behalf made and provided" (Notarial Act on the Consecration, 1879). The Bishop of New Westminster, in common with his peers, has had to be all things to all men. His responsibilities included: presidency of Synod, chairmanship of Executive Committee, ex-officio member of all standing committees, pastoral care and counseling to the clergy of the diocese and to others, appointment of clergy to parishes and Diocesan staff, episcopal functions of ordination and confirmation, dedications and consecrations of parishes, participation in the meetings of the Provincial Synod and of the General Synod, presidency of the Anglican Theological College, direction of programs of the diocese, direction of the administrative activities of the diocese, and service to the Church as a whole through the House of Bishops. Despite Bishops' eminent qualifications and capacity for work, there was concern about the work demands imposed upon the Bishop. Initiated by Bishop Gower, a comprehensive study about the organizational structure of the Diocese was conducted in 1966 by E.W. Netten, consultant with Price Waterhouse firm. The recommendations for improvement were presented to Synod and approved at the 63rd special session, December;1967. The fundamental Bishops' functions were identified as follows: responsibility for spiritual matters as well as policy-making and policy implementation. He guides the Diocesan Council in deliberation upon and approval of policy; he leads the Strategy committee in the initiation of strategic policy; he manages the Diocese as a chief executive officer; he has the responsibility for interpreting and implementing policies. The Bishop should not be, however, involved in the manifold details of Diocesan operations. It was resolved that "the said Synod of the Diocese proceed to elect a Coadjutor Bishop" in accordance with Canon III, clause 1. The Coadjutor Bishop "shall become and be the Bishop of the Diocese whenever any vacancy occurs in the See without further election" (Canon III, motion to clause 9). The Coadjutor Bishop had to share the episcopal work, manage the program functions of the Diocese, supply the vital link of continuity when Bishop's vacancy occurs. To relieve the Bishop of his detailed duties and enable him to devote more time to matters of faith, doctrine and policy-making, the operations at the Diocesan level had to be the responsibility of various Diocesan committees and officers. The Bishop's committee responsibilities were funneled mainly into chairmanship of the Diocesan Council and the Strategy Committee; he had to be a member of the Program Committee and the Administration and Finance Committee, but was not obliged to attend all of their meetings. He, of course, retained the presidency of Synod. The resolutions adopted at the 63rd session of Synod envisaged Bishop's role and duties as "pastor pastorum". Interpretation of the faith and strategic planning are his main duties to be shared with Diocesan clergy and personnel.

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    Sous-fonds consists of handwritten and printed material of episcopal acts; confirmation register (1880-1893); confirmation lists (1910-1995); correspondence (pastoral and occasional letters of Bishop Somerville); declarations of obedience; lay readers' licenses; reports (relating to Poverty in Canada, Church Army in Canada, Canadian Interfaith Work, Human Sexuality); pamphlets, printed material on a variety of issues; clippings. Includes the Notarial Act of the Consecration of Rev. A. W. Sillitoe as Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster and the Commendatory Letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury to define the boundaries of the Diocese, 1879. Includes also a list of episcopal visits (Adam Urias de Pencier, Douglas W. Hambidge) to the parishes in the Diocese with the numbers of candidates confirmed in each parish and a list of dedication of churches (1884-1920).

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        Access is restricted to Archbishop Hambidge's correspondence as per FOI legislation of civil province of British Columbia.

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        BCAUL control number: ANGNW-561

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