Michael Peers Obituary, Canadian Anglican Bishop Has Passed Away

Michael Peers Obituary, Canadian Anglican Bishop Has Passed Away

Michael Peers Obituary, Remembering Michael Geoffrey Peers: A Legacy of Leadership in the Anglican Church of Canada

In a somber moment, the Anglican Church of Canada mourns the loss of one of its longest-serving leaders, Michael Geoffrey Peers. Serving as primate from 1986 to 2004, Bishop Peers passed away at the age of 88 in Toronto on July 27. Throughout his 18-year primacy, he witnessed and led the church through significant changes, leaving an enduring impact on both the religious institution and society at large.

Advocacy for Indigenous Rights

Bishop Peers was an ardent supporter of Indigenous rights, standing in solidarity with the Inuit community during their struggle with the international animal rights lobby in 1986. Despite their efforts, the seal hunt, vital to the Inuit’s livelihood, faced devastating consequences. Peers also played a pivotal role in acknowledging and apologizing for the failures of the Anglican Church in the residential school system. At the National Native Convocation in 1993, he issued a heartfelt apology to residential school survivors, acknowledging the cultural and emotional abuses they endured.

Promoting Ecumenism and Building Partnerships

A strong advocate for ecumenism, Michael Peers actively worked towards strengthening the church’s relationships with other denominations. He served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches during the 1990s and played a significant role in fostering full communion between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in 2001.

Championing Social Issues

Throughout his tenure, Bishop Peers remained steadfast in his support for social issues close to his heart. In 1987, he joined forces with Lesley Parrott, a mother whose child was murdered, to publicly speak out against the death penalty, ultimately contributing to its abolition the following year.

Controversy Surrounding Same-Sex Unions

In the early 2000s, the issue of same-sex unions emerged as a contentious topic within the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Peers supported the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy and stood by the Diocese of New Westminster when it became the first Anglican diocese to authorize the blessing of same-sex unions in 2002. Despite facing controversy across the Anglican Communion, Peers remained resolute in his stance, affirming the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships at the last General Synod he presided over in 2004.

A Multifaceted Leader

Michael Geoffrey Peers’ leadership extended beyond ecclesiastical matters. He was a linguist with fluency in English, French, Spanish, German, and Russian, which initially led him to consider a career as a diplomat. However, a friend’s invitation back to church redirected his path, ultimately leading him to ordination as a priest in 1960.

A Life of Service

Throughout his life, Bishop Peers served in various roles, including university chaplain, parish priest, Dean of Qu’Appelle, and Bishop of the Diocese of Qu’Appelle before assuming the office of primate in 1986. In retirement, he remained active as an ecumenist-in-residence at the Toronto School of Theology and as a confessor to the monastery of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston.

A Fond Farewell

As the Anglican Church of Canada bids farewell to one of its esteemed leaders, Michael Geoffrey Peers’ memory will live on through the legacies he left behind. His unwavering commitment to justice, ecumenism, and the recognition of same-sex unions continues to influence the church’s direction, forging a path of compassion, understanding, and inclusion.

In these moments of loss, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Dorothy (Bradley), their three children, and four grandchildren. May his remarkable spirit and dedication to serving others inspire future generations to carry on his noble work within the Anglican Church and beyond.

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