Bishop Linda Nicholls, the former area bishop of Trent-Durham in the Diocese of Toronto, was officially seated as the 13th bishop of the Diocese of Huron on Nov. 26 in London, Ont.
The service brought together hundreds in prayer and celebration, including deacons, priests and retired bishops, among them Bishop Nicholls’ predecessor, Bishop Robert Bennett. Archbishop Colin Johnson, bishop of Toronto and metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, presided over the service, and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, preached. Also present were the Rev. Dr. Jeff Crittenden, senior minister at Metropolitan United Church, and Dr. Imam Jamal Taleb of the Islamic Centre, both in London.
Bishop Nicholls is the first woman bishop in the 160-year history of the Diocese of Huron. She is also the first bishop of Huron not to be enthroned at the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral, though not by choice. Due to structural issues discovered during ongoing renovations, the sanctuary had to be temporarily closed. Nearby Metropolitan United Church, acting in the best tradition of ecumenical hospitality, graciously offered the use of its church for the occasion.
“It is no accident, I think, that we are here today,” Bishop Nicholls said at the end of the service. “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.”
Still, St. Paul’s Cathedral had its role in the ceremony. The clergy vested in a safe area of the cathedral, which was the starting point of the procession that stretched through downtown London.
Primate Fred Hiltz briefly touched on the subject 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,” he said. “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 what would be a wonderful episcopate.”
Diocese of Huron