The Most Rev. Fred J. Hiltz, Primate of Canada since 2007, announces his decision to retire in 2019:
In 2017, I marked 40 years in ordained ministry and 40 years of marriage with my dear Lynne. For 23 of those 40 years I have served our Church as a bishop, and for 10 of those 23 as Primate. As you well know this was not an office to which I aspired. Nonetheless I have endeavoured to fulfil the duties required of me in the best interests of our Church and its commitment to God’s mission in Canada and as a loyal partner in the life and witness of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It has been an enormous privilege and a great adventure with blessings beyond number.
This year on December 3rd, I will God willing reach the age of 65. I think that is probably no secret in our Church! And in the natural order of discourse around such milestones, questions arise with respect to one’s intentions about retirement. I believe it is incumbent upon me to help move us all beyond whispered speculations to clarity about my intentions.
Allow me just a few minutes to bare but a bit of my soul concerning my discernment. At some length, I have considered how much longer I should remain in office. In all honesty, there are days when I wonder if I might not be coming very close to the “best before” date in the leadership I am providing. Time and again, I have examined the scenarios for which Canon III on The Primate makes provision with respect to resignation. I have experienced more than a few restless nights. I have tried to abide by St Paul’s counsel not to be anxious but prayerful (Philippians 2:6) I have prayed and I have quietly asked a few others to uphold me in their prayers through this time of discernment. For their pledge to do so I am enormously grateful.
I confess too that out of a deep and abiding love for our Church I have in these last several months felt more than a little sense of solemn obligation to see General Synod through the next round of conversations over a few very significant matters. I think of how we begin to move beyond Vision 2019. I think of the second reading of the amendment to the Marriage Canon. I think of the next steps we will be taking to honour the dream of a truly Indigenous Church within The Anglican Church of Canada. I think of the desire deep in the soul of our Church for making a faithful response to the Calls to Action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission grounded in the UN Declaration on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I think of the emerging nature of global partnerships, orientated not only around fellowship and mutual encouragement in our witness to the Gospel but also solidarity in addressing massive global issues as horrific as human trafficking and as critical as climate change.
My discernment has brought me to a decision to resign at the conclusion of General Synod 2019. Last week I made my decision known to the Provincial Metropolitan senior by election, The Most Rev John Privett (Archbishop of Kootenay and Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon). In accord with the requirements of Canon III on The Primate, I also submitted my notice of intention to resign as Primate at the conclusion of General Synod. Having consulted with the other Metropolitans and the Prolocutor of General Synod and the Deputy Prolocutor, Archbishop Privett and I have jointly determined that my resignation take effect July 16, 2019. On that day the 42nd Session of The Meeting of General Synod will conclude its work and will celebrate the election of a new Primate. It will be a day when I pray we will all say with a resounding heart soul and voice, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).