Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls, area bishop of Trent-Durham and bishop suffragan from the Diocese of Toronto, was elected coadjutor bishop by the Synod of the Diocese of Huron at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Saturday, Feb. 13.
Bishop Linda was elected among eight candidates as the first woman bishop in Huron.
It required three rounds of balloting for her to acquire majority of the vote among both the laity and the clergy, as required by the rules of the diocese. There were 216 lay delegates and 124 clergy at the Electoral Synod.
“I am delighted that people of Huron gathered in Synod have called the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls to the office of coadjutor bishop for the Diocese of Huron. She is a gifted and faithful leader who will help chart our future to that place where God-in-Christ wills us to be. I very much look forward to working with her”, said Rt. Rev. Bob Bennett, the bishop of Huron, upon announcing the results.
As coadjutor bishop, Bishop Linda will automatically become the 13th bishop of Huron when Bishop Bennett retires.
After an embrace from Bishop Bob, Bishop Linda invited the other candidates to join her at the front of the cathedral.
“I realized what a wonderful, strong, vibrant group of candidates you have,” she told the assembled delegates to Synod. “We now work together for the sake of the Gospel.”
The other candidates were Rev. Canon Dr. Tim Connor, Ven. Jane Humphreys, Ven. Paul Millward, Ven. Tanya Phibbs, Ven. Sam Thomas, Rev. Canon Robert Towler, and Ven. Peter Townshend.
Bishop Linda led on the ballot through all three rounds of voting. After the second round, four candidates withdrew their names from consideration.
The diocese did not release the voting tallies to the public and Bishop Bob urged delegates not to post the results of each round of votes on social media. “We’re trying to be sensitive to what the candidates are going through,” he said. He spoke about his own experience as a three-time candidate for bishop, adding, “We came into this Synod as colleagues in ministry, all of us, and we want to leave this Synod as colleagues in ministry.”
Voting took place during heavy snowfall across parts of the diocese. Bishop Bob said diocesan leaders were monitoring the weather in the days running up to the Electoral Synod and had many discussions about postponing the election to the previously chosen snow date of Feb. 20 — the next Saturday — but decided to go ahead with the Feb. 13 date.
Besides being the first woman elected bishop in Huron, Bishop Nicholls is also the first bishop from outside the diocese since 1931.
Bishop Nicholls was ordained a deacon on Nov. 3, 1985. A year later she was ordained a priest and on Feb. 2, 2008, she was consecrated bishop suffragan for the Diocese of Toronto.
Bishop Nicholls is co-chair of Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada, a member of Faith Worship and Ministry Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada, chair of Standing Committee on Religious Orders, Anglican Church of Canada House of Bishops,and episcopal member of Doctrine and Worship Committee, Diocese of Toronto. She earned a doctor of ministry degree from Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in 2002 and was presented with an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Wycliffe in 2008).