The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls was officially seated as 13th Bishop of Huron on Saturday, November 26. She is not only the first woman to become the Bishop of Huron but, due to the ongoing repairs at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the first bishop whose enthronement took place in a church other than Anglican.
“It is no accident, I think, that we are here today. For we are in the midst of challenging times as God’s Church in which we are being called to work together. It is also an opportunity to witness to that unity in Christ that we have as brothers and sisters across ecumenical traditions”– said Bishop Linda at the end of the Welcoming and Seating service which took place at the Metropolitan United Church in London, Ontario.
“I actually think this is a mark and a sign of my episcopacy, that we will move on together”, added Bishop Nicholls.
”It is a sign of many things to come, I am sure: small communities or large, wherever we can, to share the good news together, to worship together, to share our spaces and to know that at the end of the day what is most important is our life in Christ, to witness to the world the God’s love – and this we can do the best together.”
The sentiment that faith can no longer be tied to the buildings was displayed in the procession of diocesan clergy before the service. Stretching from St. Paul’s and then through Queens Avenue and Wellington Street to the doors of Metropolitan United Church, the procession represented a powerful public statement of faith. And the beauty and flawlessness of the service showed that the diocesan clergy and faithful felt at home in the building of the United Church.
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Fred Hiltz briefly touched on the subject not only in his address to the faithful from the pulpit but also in his statement for the Huron Church News after the service:
“I think the way in which all the plans came together in spite of the circumstances here at the Cathedral were absolutely amazing. We had a glorious service; it was a great atmosphere in that place today, the Spirit was clearly among us and I think it is just a great beginning for would be a wonderful episcopate.”
Finally, it should be noted that the seating of Bishop Linda as the first woman bishop in Huron coincides with the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada. The service celebrating this anniversary in the Diocese of Huron is planned for Wednesday, November 30 at St. James’ Church, Stratford.