The Ven Ann Germond has led the Church of the Ascension of New Sudbury ON, a parish of Dio Algoma, for 16 years. She began at the church before she was even ordained. At first, she was a lay incumbent. She was ordained a deacon in 2001 and a priest in 2002, after which the parish asked her to remain as its rector. Over those 16 years, the membership of the parish has trebled and the former one-room church has been expanded to a physical plant capable of accommodating the ministries of such a large congregation. In 2010 she also became the Archdeacon of the Sudbury-Manitoulin deanery. Additionally, she is the Chancellor of Thorneloe University, her alma mater, where she received a Bachelor of Theology and a chaplain to the Greater Sudbury Police. Prior to leaving South Africa, she completed a Bachelor of Biblical Studies.
Germond grew up in South Africa, where she was schooled by Roman Catholic nuns at the former Rosebank Convent, which is now St Theresa’s School. During high school, Germond swam the Thames and became a member of the Anglican church in South Africa after she grew to love the Anglican liturgy. She and her husband Colin, an oncologist, who is now himself fighting cancer, moved from South Africa to Sudbury ON, in 1986. They settled into the Church of the Epiphany, where Germond worked on every level of parish life over the years.
This year, Dio Algona began a search for a new bishop. Germond was approached by members of the diocese about putting her name forward as a candidate. She declined, expressing a wish to be able to spend time with her family and especially with her husband fighting cancer. However, the folks who had asked to nominate her for bishop again approached her with a request to allow them to nominate her from the floor of the diocesan electing synod. She consented. Even though she had not been an original candidate with the slate of nominees, after being nominated from the floor of the synod, she was elected the 11th bishop diocesan of Dio Algona on the 6th ballot. She received 70 of 102 votes in the lay house of laity and 30 of 44 votes in the clergy house.
The bishop-elect has written the following letter to the diocese;
The Ven. Anne Germond
I am writing to thank you for the heartfelt messages of congratulations and assurances of prayer that I have been receiving from across Algoma and elsewhere since the electoral synod just ten days ago. My election as your next bishop was surprising, overwhelming and unexpected, and I am filled with the weight and responsibility of the office that I will hold. I count it a great honour and privilege to have been elected as bishop and I will do everything I can to be a faithful pastor to you as we continue “To share in the gathering work of Christ so that His newness of life overflows into our hearts, homes, churches and community.” As I have been assured of your prayers, know that you are very much in mine.
The role of bishop is one that I will be growing into over the years and I am expecting there to be a steep learning curve. My friend Fawna Andrews said, “It’s quite a ride Anne, so buckle up!” It is good to know that I have the support of the knowledgeable Archdeacon Harry Huskins, our Diocesan Administrator and Executive Archdeacon, the gifted Synod office staff Jane Mesich, Liz Hamel, Marjorie Ingram, and Jay Koyle, as well as the Archdeacons, Deanery officials, members of the Executive committee, and all of you. Archbishop Johnson assures me that there will be opportunities for training in the coming year. He has invited me to the November meeting of the Provincial House of Bishops, and to join the newly elected suffragan Bishops in Toronto for a pre- consecration retreat in January.
I am looking forward to getting to know you as I travel across the diocese in the coming years. This diocese in all its beauty and all its diversity is where I feel very much at home. Even though I’ve been a part of Bishop’s Council and the Diocesan Executive Committee for several years and have heard about the good things that are happening in your congregations, there is still so much for me to learn and discover about Algoma. In addition to the official parish visits I hope to work alongside you in your outreach projects. What impressed me so much when I read through the Diocesan profile prepared for the electoral synod was how the deanery pages focused on the missional work that is happening in each of them. Did you notice that the photographs in the profile were all of people engaged in those ministries instead of church buildings? Interestingly, none of the archdeacons had spoken to each other in preparing their deanery profile.
I see my role and our life together over the next several years as continuing the good work that has been going on in Algoma for so many years now. We give thanks for our history. We look to the horizon with hope. There is much for us to do in this present time we but we know that Christ is our foundation and it is His love that holds us safely in our joys and in our fears. I am reminded of the beautiful Taize song, “Ubi Caritas, Deus ibi est.” “Where love is, there is God.” Let love be our guide.
I echo Paul’s words to the Philippians here, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
Some of you have been wondering what will happen during this transition period. The diocese will continue to be run by the Diocesan Administrator, Archdeacon Harry Huskins with the assistance of the Diocesan leadership team. The Archbishop has set the Consecration for February 11th, 2017 in Sault Ste. Marie. Details of this will be forthcoming as details are known. Bishop’s Council and the Diocesan Executive Committee will be meeting in November as planned, and so you can be confident that life in Algoma will run smoothly even in a time of transition.
During the coming months the Ascension and I will be preparing for my departure and I do ask you to keep us in your prayers. This is not easy for either of us as we have grown together in faith over the last sixteen years. There is capable leadership in place as well as very supportive honourary clergy to guide them through the next steps. Colin and I are also starting to think about how our lives will look as we downsize our home in Sudbury, and plan a move to the Sault. We do want to keep a smaller home in Sudbury as we have many ties to this community. I am attaching a photo of our family that was taken this Thanksgiving. Our adult children, Caitlin and Richard are both studying at Queen’s University and we are proud of them both.
I leave you with a final thought on opening the door of our hearts to God. ‘Becoming the Story We Tell’ is not a moment in time, but a lifelong journey of faith and a daily commitment to Christ. Matthew says, “Ask and you will receive. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7.7). In all of my asking and searching and knocking, I have come to the realization of a deep truth that whenever I was out there looking for God, that God was there all along just waiting for me to open the door of my heart to Him. Let us open our hearts to God and trust in his felt presence in our journey.
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
In Christ’s love,
The incumbent bishop diocesan is moving to Toronto ON, in SEP 2016, where he is taking up the position of Principal of Wycliffe College. The consecration of the new bishop has been scheduled by the Most Revd Colin Johnson, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, for 11 February 2017, in Sault Ste Marie ON.
The main photo and the second photo are from the Church of the Ascension Facebook page.
Information for the story was gathered from the Anglican Journal article, Wikipedia and various Ontario Canada newspaper articles.