Friday, November 27, 2009

Visiting with Ottawa's Anglican Bishop John Chapman

The Ottawa Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses received new episcopal leadership around the same time.

On the Feast of the Ascension, May 17th 2007, John Holland Chapman was ordained and consecrated Coadjutor Anglican Bishop of Ottawa. I had been introduced as the ninth archbishop (and tenth bishop) of Ottawa a few days earlier, on the feast of St. Matthias (May 14).

At the time of my installation on June 26, Bishop Chapman was attending the meeting of the House of Bishops in Winnipeg, so he asked his (not immediate) predecessor, Bishop John Baycroft to represent him at my installation (whom I had known from the years we served on ARC Canada (the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada).

Fortunately, I was free to attend the service on the Feast of Ninian, September 16, 2007 when he was enthroned as the ninth Bishop of Ottawa on his predecessor Bishop Peter Robert Coffin's assuming the office of Anglican Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces.

We promised ourselves we would meet to foster a common witness of Christians concerned about our society and did so earlier this year when we both took part in a public protest against the seemingly interminable OC Transpo strike that paralyzed Ottawa.

The announcement in October of a Vatican response to the Anglican Catholic Church's request for union with Rome prompted an initiative to meet, which we were able to do on Wednesday of this week, though that was not the aim of our get-together.

Each with our ecumenical officers, Fr. Craig Bowers of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Kanata and monsieur l'abbe Jacques Kabangu, pastor of Paroisse St-Gabriel, Gloucester (who took the photos and so does not appear in any), we enjoyed good conversation about civic and ecclesial concerns over a light lunch not far from the Bishop's Office on Bronson and Queen Streets (next to Christ Church Cathedral), resolving to keep in touch.

Bishop Chapman (left), Father Bowers in front of the Ottawa Bishop's Office

On my return home, I checked the Anglican website for more details on Bishop Chapman and his family, discovering what follows:

Bishop Chapman, who is a native of Ottawa, was ordained a priest in 1978 and appointed assistant curate at Ottawa's St. Matthias' Church. But he stayed only a short time in his diocese of origin.

In December 1979, he transferred to the Diocese of Huron (London, ON) when appointed Chaplain to Huron University College (HUC) and Anglican Chaplain to the University of Western Ontario.

In 1983 became a lecturer at HUC and in 1984 completed a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Promoted to the rank of assistant professor at HUC in 1987, he shortly after accepted what became a 13-year appointment as rector of the parish of St. Jude's Church in London, Ontario.

In the bishop's office...notice the spare croziers in the corner

Returning to the academy in 1999 as Huron Lawson Chair in Pastoral Theology at HUC, his teaching was mainly devoted to the Christian Spiritual tradition, leadership development and pastoral competence. In 2000, he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Huron, a position he held until his election as the Ninth Bishop of Ottawa in 2007.

Bishop Chapman is married to Catherine (nee Brabazon) and they are parents of three adult children, Geoffrey, Simon and Sarah.

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