NEWS

The time of repentance, learning and turning to God

With Rev. Canon Dr. Todd Townshend, Huron’s Bishop-elect, immediately after the vote at St. Paul’s Cathedral on October 26

We have a bishop: the moment Archbishop Anne Germond announced that Rev. Canon Todd Townshend has won the majority of votes. The first to congratulate – standing closest to him – were his two sons Seth and Samuel.

By Rev. Marty Levesque

For the past two decades you have been involved in academia, whether it has been a part time as a professor or now  full-time as a dean. How do you feel this has helped prepare you for the role you have been elected to and that you are going to assume in January?

The mission of the Faculty of Theology is to prepare leaders – lay and clergy – for work in the Church.  You are constantly talking to people, learning about what the Church needs, what leadership is, how things evolve. So, it is kind of my job thinking about it all the time, without other responsibilities as a professor in the Faculty of Theology and especially as the dean, and that has been very helpful.

I have also learned a lot how organizations work elsewhere.  I have a bit of a view of the Church from the outside, with a different angle, and that is probably going to be helpful. Understanding the way organizations get healthy and stay healthy is a helpful thing to know.

What can we look forward to at your first days as bishop? Or, in more secular terms, what is your first 100 days going to look like once you are consecrated?

The first part of it, in terms of liturgical season, is Epiphany and Lent to Easter. It is that time of the year and that will be the nature of what is going on, worshiping will have a certain flavor. That will be the time of repentance, learning and turning to God, which is all a wonderful way to begin anything.

I have a lot of learning to do. I have been close to people who have had episcopal ministry, so I will be learning from the people around me. There are areas of the diocese I know less well than others. Our Indigenous brothers and sisters – I will be going to them right away to learn about their lives more deeply. And honestly, I am going to get organized by others in a way that helps meet the needs of the role.

Revisiting today’s election, was there a point in time during the day before the final ballot when you felt that this is happening?

It is interesting how reality sets in in a variety of ways, and it is not your imagination or your hopes anymore. This morning I woke up earlier than I normally do. There was a nervousness and excitement that helps set you up to realize that it is an important day in your life and in many other peoples’ lives. But just watching the results I did not want to feel sure about anything – you feel a little uneasy – until  I have actually seen it (that is the self-protective thing that I do). But probably after the second ballot I thought that likelihood has grown up, and I said to Kevin who I was with: I got to try to stay out of my head. Because I tend to do that, I tend to start thinking through everything, I want to enjoy it, I want to look back on it as a moment that really was a boost for all of us.