Chapter XVII. Nomination, Election and Consecration of the Bishop Coadjutor
THE Bishop made a most important announcement at the meeting of the Synod in 1879. He said that, though still blessed with health and strength, his advanced years rendered it difficult to reach all the work required of him in the Diocese. After giving the matter careful consideration, he was minded to obtain assistance through a Coadjutor. He would still willingly devote the ability which might be given in his remaining years to the benefit of the Church under his charge. The Bishop expressed his willingness to provide the stipend of the Coadjutor out of his own income. He asked that the nomination of the candidate should be left to himself.
The existing canon, in case of a vacancy in the See, left the entire choice in the Synod. A canon was therefore submitted and passed in accordance with the wishes of the Bishop. It may here be stated that with several members of the Synod there was a feeling adverse to the principle of the canon. Only out of regard and respect for the Bishop was this feeling overruled. At the close of the proceedings the following resolution was proposed:
Resolved, That this Synod, before which matters of so grave and delicate a nature have been brought, bear witness of our high appreciation of the dignity, the candour, the patience, and the impartiality which have characterized his lordship's bearing and utterances in presiding; our renewed love and respect for his lordship; our wish and prayer that he may long be spared to us; and our earnest thanks to Almighty God that the deliberations of this Synod have been so eminently free from the spirit of bitterness and party strife, happily issuing in that harmony which comes from acting "in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace."
The Bishop made a most cordial and happy reply.
When the Synod met the following year, the Bishop stated that he was not yet prepared to submit any name or names for the office of a Coadjutor. It was, he said, a matter requiring the deepest consideration. A resolution was adopted by the Synod approving of the course taken by the Bishop, and expressing a desire to leave the matter in his hands.
At a special meeting of the Synod, held in St. John on the 12th January, 1881, the Bishop submitted his nomination of a Bishop Coadjutor in accordance with the terms of the canon lately adopted.
He addressed the Synod, and read certain letters and testimonials received by him with reference to the Reverend H. Tully Kingdon, Vicar of Good Easter, Essex, and he nominated him to the office of Bishop Coadjutor. The Honorable the Chief Justice was called to the chair upon the retirement of the Bishop from the meeting. On the first ballot there was a large majority in favour of the nomination. The motion was afterwards unanimously adopted by a standing vote. It may be added that the whole debate on this important question displayed the best of feeling, and a total absence of all party spirit.
The consecration of the Rev. Dr. Kingdon took place at the Cathedral, Fredericton, N.B., on Sunday, July 10th, 1881. The Metropolitan was assisted in the consecration by the Bishops of Nova Scotia, Quebec, Maine, and Albany. The sermon was preached by the last named prelate. In an account of the proceedings published at the time it is said:
Thus closed the interesting, solemn, and important services in connection with the consecration of the Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Fredericton. It was the first instance of the consecration of a Bishop of the Anglican communion in the Maritime Provinces. Few of those present had witnessed before the consecration of an Anglican Bishop. Few of the present generation can reasonably hope soon to behold such a ceremony. Notwithstanding the vast assembly, which crowded every part of the Cathedral, the utmost decorum prevailed from the beginning to the end of the solemnities. The spirit of the occasion was felt by all. The music was appropriate and admirably rendered. The responses came back from the assembly of clergy and laity with impressive distinctness.
All must have felt that it was indeed good to be present on such an occasion, and in such company, imbued with the spirit of brotherly love and Christian unity.
All must have come away impressed to some extent with the solemnity of the services in which they had engaged, thanking God for His past mercies to the Church in this Diocese, and prayerfully looking forward to the future.
Allusion has already been made to the great boon conferred on this Diocese by the endowment of the See to the amount of £1,000 sterling per annum for all coming years. The Bishop made over one-half of this income to his Coadjutor. For several years the Diocese has had the advantage of extra Episcopal supervision. The Bishop retained full management until within a few months of his last illness, presided over the meetings of the Synod and Church Society, and held confirmation in places easy of access. The most distant and fatiguing duty was assigned to the Coadjutor, who also rendered most efficient service as assistant chairman at the meetings referred to.