For the first time in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), a woman will sit as the Archbishop and primate of the communion. Bishop Linda Nicholls has been elected as the fourteenth primate of the ACC.
“You have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast,” Nicholls told those gathered at the General Synod, according to the Anglican Journal.
There were five nominees put forward at the beginning of voting: Jane Alexander, bishop of the diocese of Edmonton; Archbishop Ron Cutler, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Canada and bishop of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; Archbishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land and bishop of the diocese of Calgary; Nicholls; and Michael Oulton, bishop of the diocese of Ontario.
Nicholls will replace Archbishop Fred Hiltz who has been serving as the primate since 2007. She will be installed on Tuesday, July 16, the final day of the gathering.
She takes the lead of the church at a time of division and hurt. A motion to amend the church's marriage canon and allow same-sex marriage was defeated after a controversial vote on Friday, July 12 at the General Synod.
“We have reconciliation to do. And we have deep healing to work at. And I know that this church can do it,” Nicholls says. “I have seen this church rise to the challenge of its diversity; I’ve seen this church act in remarkable ways that the rest of the world does watch. And even though we at times can cause each other deep hurt and pain, I’ve also seen us rise to the challenge of that healing work of coming together around God’s table where our first calling is in Christ.”