Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Canadian Bishop for Christchurch

For immediate release Sunday, March 16, 2008

Canadian Bishop for Christchurch

A Canadian Bishop who is part of a high-level advisory group to the worldwide Anglican Communion has been elected Bishop of Christchurch.

The Rt Rev’d Victoria Matthews is currently bishop-in-residence at Wycliffe College in Toronto. She was Bishop of Edmonton for 10 years from 1997 to late last year, and Suffragan (Assistant) Bishop of Toronto from 1994-97.

She narrowly missed being elected Primate of Canada last year.

Announcing the appointment today, the Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia, Archbishop Brown Turei, said he looked forward to welcoming Bishop Matthews into the church of these islands. “I’m sure that, with all her experience, she will make a good contribution to our life and witness," he said.

Bishop Matthews, 54 and unmarried, is only the second woman to become a diocesan bishop in New Zealand. The first was the Rt Rev’d Dr Penny Jamieson, Bishop of Dunedin from 1989-2004.

Bishop Matthews chairs the Canadian Primate’s Theological Commission, and has just been appointed to the Windsor Continuation Group, which will look at crucial questions about the shape of Anglican common life around the world.

She is in high demand as a retreat leader and guest lecturer, enjoys leading youth pilgrimages to holy places such as Iona and Taize, and has served as a trustee of Yale University in the USA.

In 2004 Bishop Matthews underwent major surgery for breast cancer. She walked the 800km pilgrimage trail to Santiago De Compostela in northern Spain last year to celebrate a clean bill of health.

In her spare time she enjoys hiking and walking her Anatolian shepherd dog Jethro, swimming, and reading history and theology.

Her installation as the eighth Bishop of Christchurch will take place in ChristChurch Cathedral on August 30. The present Bishop, the Rt Rev’d Dr David Coles, takes up the position of Vicar of Wakatipu in Queenstown on April 12.

‘To visit and to listen’

Bishop Matthews is no stranger to Christchurch. She hiked through New Zealand in the 1980s and was smitten. “Your country is so beautiful,” she said from her home in Toronto this week.

“I’ve long admired your (Anglican) prayer book, your commitment to the stewardship of creation, and the leadership of Maori in the church. I’m excited about the move and look forward to forming relationships and making Christchurch my home.”

Bishop Matthews’ personal priorities on arrival here are “to visit and to listen.” And then? “My priority for the diocese would be to call the people of God to excellence in all that they do,” she says. “I hate mediocrity, and I despair of sloppiness.”

She describes herself as “catholic evangelical” and is widely respected for her quiet authority and her ability to sit comfortably with all theological mindsets. However, she worries that in recent years the churches have moved away from “waiting on God,” and believes that a call to prayer is “essential at all levels of our church.”

She was educated at Bishop Strachan School in Toronto and has a Master of Divinity degree from Yale. She says she is a great fan of church schools, “especially if they are not only for the wealthy. I wish Canada had more of them.”

Although only 44 at the time, Bishop Matthews was invited on to the communications committee for the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops in England. She is involved again in the planning of the Lambeth Conference this July, and will attend as Christchurch’s Bishop-elect.

Despite media speculation, Bishop Matthews is careful and moderate on controversial issues such as the blessing of same-sex relationships. Indeed, she is known internationally for her theological orthodoxy and her resolve to maintain unity.

Last year, during the Canadian General Synod, she was reported as saying that same-sex blessings did not conflict with core doctrines of the Canadian church.

Her comment arose from a Canadian study called the St Michael Report, which identified core doctrines as those relating to the person and work of God.

“Speaking personally, I think a number of things stand in the way of blessing same-gender marriages or unions,” Bishop Matthews says.

“First and very importantly, the church needs to decide whether same-gender marriage is a faithful development of the Christian doctrine of marriage. This work is well under way in Canada and, I hope, other provinces of the Anglican Communion.

“Secondly, our church needs to find a way forward whenever the cause of church unity meets the cry of personal and corporate conscience head-on. Who and how will we decide? The Anglican Covenant Design Group is addressing this.”

Bishop Matthews says it is essential, albeit difficult, for churches of the first world to be patient and to listen carefully to churches of the two-thirds world.

“We (in the first world) have been dominant and bossy and arrogant for far too long and the time is right for patience and humility.

“Secondly, by taking the time to do the theology thoroughly and well, we will ease the acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. To be impatient is to risk even further hate and violence against those we have ignored for too long.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news