Archbishop Linda Nicholls could not hide her excitement: "I have never seen the cathedral so full! The joy in the loud 'IT IS!’ when people replied to the question ‘Is it your will that we ordain Todd a bishop?’ and their ‘WE WILL!’ when asked if they would support him!”
This acknowledgment coming from Bishop Todd Townshend’s predecessor on the throne of Huron – and now the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada – tells it all: the service of the ordination, consecration and seating of the 14th Bishop of Huron at St. Paul’s Cathedral on January 25, 2020 had a feeling of being something really special in real time.
This can partly be explained by the fact that the Townshend name represents a significant part of Huron's history, with two bishops serving as suffragans: William (1955-1967) and Robert (1984-2002) – Bishop Todd's grandfather and father. But with the newly seated bishop there is a definite air of looking into the future and being open to the challenges of the world.
This quality captured the attention of several major media outlets in his very first week on the job – a task he handled with ease and engagement.
On Saturday, January 25, the Cathedral church – the oldest sacral structure in downtown London, Ontario – was full. More than 700 people from across the Diocese filled the pews and several rows of extra chairs at the back of the nave. Present and participating in this service were 22 bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada as well as Bishop Marinez from Amazonia, Huron's companion diocese. The current Primate of the Anglican Church was part of the service, also her predecessor, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.
Huron's retired bishops came to participate embodying the continuity of the diocesan episcopal ministry: The Most Reverend Percy O'Driscoll (the tenth Bishop of Huron); The Right Reverend Robert F. Bennett (the 12th Bishop of Huron) and Rt. Rev. Terry Dance who served as the Suffragan Bishop from 2009 to 2015.
Also present were representatives of other Christian jurisdictions in Canada – Bishop Michael Pryse (Lutheran Church), President Joyce Payne and Rev. Michelle Down (United Church) and Bishop Fabbro (Roman-Catholic Church).
The Metropolitan of the Province of Ontario, Archbishop Anne Garmond was the Presider and Chief Consecrator. Todd Townshend's sister, Ms. Andra O'Neill was the preacher.
From the very first steps and incantations of the ritual of smudging all through the Bishop-elect’s presentation, examination and consecration, the cathedral church reacted as one body. The Cathedral Dean then escorted the newly consecrated bishop to the Cathedra and seated him there. The Right Reverend Dr. Todd Townshend became the 14th Bishop of Huron.
Dr. Townshend was elected Bishop of Huron on October 26, 2019 among five candidates by the diocesan synod convened at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Ontario. He succeeds to the throne of Huron after his predecessor Linda Nicholls was elected the head of the Anglican Church of Canada in July last year.
Todd Townshend was ordained deacon and priested in 1992. He has served as rector in different parishes in Huron.
Dr. Townshend has a long academic record that started with university instructor positions in 1999. He was Associate Professor of Contextual Theology at Huron University College from 2011 to 2013 and served as the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Huron College from 2013 to the end of 2019.