From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Executive archdeacon elected new Keewatin Anglican bishop

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 03 Dec 2001 11:08:50 -0800

Executive archdeacon elected new Keewatin bishop;
Ashdown to succeed his former boss, Bishop Gordon Beardy

Leanne Larmondin
Web Manager

Big Trout Lake, Ont.
The diocese of Keewatin has chosen its executive archdeacon to be the new
diocesan bishop.

Archdeacon David Ashdown was elected on the third ballot. There were three
other candidates: Archdeacon Sidney Black, Archdeacon Douglas Greig and
Rev. Terry McNear.

Bishop-elect Ashdown succeeds Bishop Gordon Beardy who surprised the church
last summer with his resignation. That announcement came just weeks after
General Synod where Bishop Beardy delivered a moving and spontaneous
absolution to the Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, for the church's role
in the residential schools system.

Since Bishop Beardy stepped down, Bishop-elect Ashdown has been running the
affairs of the diocese as commissary, or temporary replacement.

Before moving to Keewatin in 1999, Bishop-elect Ashdown served as treasurer
and executive archdeacon of the diocese of Athabasca, in northern Alberta.

Ordained priest in 1978, he served parishes in the diocese of Qu'Appelle
until 1992, when he moved to Athabasca. He holds a bachelor of arts degree
from the University of Saskatchewan and bachelor of theology and master of
divinity from the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad.

While in Saskatchewan, he helped found the Davidson Christian Resource
Centre Association, an ecumenical outreach program serving Davidson, Sask.,
and a half dozen other communities.

Unlike Bishop Beardy, who attended a residential school for a year (never
to return to any formal schooling afterwards), Bishop-elect Ashdown brings
a different residential school experience: he worked for four years in the
early 1970s as a dorm supervisor at a residential school in the Northwest

In a 2000 interview published in MinistryMatters, Bishop-elect Ashdown said
that he has since come to believe that the residential school system was
wrong, despite the fact that many good people worked in it.

"What I've come to understand is that it wasn't a good system, but it had a
few bad people in it; it was a bad system, but it had some good people.
There was systemic evil present in the residential schools."

Bishop-elect Ashdown and his wife, Penny, have three daughters.

Keewatin is one of Canada's largest dioceses in area, covering 480,000
square kilometres and stretching over parts of northwestern Ontario and
eastern Manitoba. About half the diocese is aboriginal. Most clergy are


'The system was wrong'
-- feature about David Ashdown's experience as instructor at a residential
school; from
Legacy and Hope, a special residential schools issue of MinistryMatters

Waiting for the spirit to speak in Diocese of Keewatin
-- December 1999 Anglican Journal diocesan profile

Keewatin bishop announces surprise resignation;
Announcement comes on heels of absolution of church for wrongs done to
First Nations
-- July 2001 website news story

Beardy quits as Keewatin bishop;
Seen as rising light in the church
-- September 2001 Anglican Journal news story

Leanne Larmondin
Web Manager
Anglican Church of Canada
600 Jarvis St.
Toronto ON  L5E 2G1
(416) 924 9199 ext. 307

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