Toronto’s sole conservative bishop to step down
Bishop Patrick Yu, 65, has announced that, effective January 15, 2017, he will be retiring as suffragan bishop for the York-Scarborough region of the diocese of Toronto.
But Canada’s only Anglican Chinese bishop says his ministry is far from finished: a few weeks after his retirement, he will fly to Hong Kong to spend a term teaching at Ming Hua Theological College, the seminary for the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and Macau.
“I will actually have an active retirement,” he said in a phone interview. “I anticipate that there will be some invitations to do coaching or teaching from within Canada.”
In fact, he has already confirmed that he will continue to teach a weekend course on evangelism—a long-time interest of his—for postulants in Toronto.
Yu, who was elected and consecrated bishop in 2006 after 25 years of ordained ministry, says he never planned on wearing the mitre for more than a decade.
“I believe…for myself, anyway, that I will only be an effective bishop for 10 years,” he said. After years as a leader of the church, Yu says he wants to spend more time exploring his academic interests.
“I think pastoral ministry in church is really important,” he said. But I…want to…do some reading, writing and teaching while I’m still young.”
Yu said he is also looking forward to enjoying some downtime.
“I want to catch up on all the TV series that I have missed! I mean, I haven’t watched even one episode of West Wing—I heard it was very good,” he chuckled.
Looking back on his time as bishop, Yu said one of his greatest joys was seeing thriving churches and working to raise up competent clergy and laypeople prepared to meet the challenges of the church in the 21st century.
He acknowledged, however, that watching the decline in attendance numbers was difficult, especially when it meant churches closing on a sour note.
“Some churches amalgamate or close, and when they find new life in partnership with others, it is a joy, but when they cannot, or people are angry or sad, that is a challenge as well,” he said.
Raised in Hong Kong, Yu attended Anglican schools throughout his youth before earning a bachelor of arts at McMaster University in Hamilton in 1974. He spent four years as a student worker for inter-varsity Christian Fellowship before receiving his MDiv from Wycliffe College in 1981, after which he was ordained to the diaconate. He became a priest the following year, and spent the next decades working in various positions throughout the diocese of Toronto, including as an adjunct faculty member at Wycliffe College. He received his DMin in 1997.
Of Toronto’s five bishops, Yu is the second to announce his retirement this year. Bishop Philip Poole, regional suffragan for York-Credit Valley, will step down in September.
Meanwhile, Bishop Linda Nicholls moved from the Trent-Durham region to the diocese of Huron following her February election as coadjutor bishop of Huron.
The diocese of Toronto will hold an election on September 17 to fill all three episcopal vacancies.
First printed in the Anglican Journal. Photo: Sue Careless