The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls was officially seated on Saturday, November 26, in London, Ontario as the thirteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Huron, Anglican Church of Canada.
The Welcome and Seating service brought together in prayer and celebration hundreds of faithful with their clergy: deacons, priests, retired bishops, including Bishop Linda’s predecessor Robert Bennett, as well as the Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of All Canada, and the Most Reverend Colin Johnson, Metropolitan of Ontario. Also present were Reverend Dr. Jeff Crittenden, senior minister at Metropolitan United Church and Dr. Imam Jamal Taleb, the Imam of the Islamic Centre, London.
Metropolitan Johnson presided over the service and Archbishop Hiltz delivered the homily.
Rt. Rev. Nicholls is the first woman bishop in 160 years long history of the Diocese of Huron. She is also the first bishop of Huron not to be enthroned at historic St. Paul’s Cathedral, but not by choice. Due to structural issues discovered during the ongoing renovation of the cathedral, the sanctuary had to be temporarily closed. Metropolitan United Church in downtown London, acting in the best tradition of ecumenical hospitality, has graciously offered the Bishop and Diocese the use of their church for the occasion.
Still, St. Paul’s Cathedral had its role in the ceremony. The clergy vested in a safe area of the cathedral. The oldest church in London was the starting point of the procession that stretched through the downtown from St. Paul’s to Metropolitan United church.
The bishop’s cathedra was transferred from the Huron Church House – a historic, so-called “Isaac Helmuth chair” from London’s Christ Church (now closed), which actually predates Helmuth, the second bishop of the Diocese, and could be dated to the times of the first Bishop of Huron Benjamin Cronyn.