[Anglican Church of Canada] Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada since 1986, has announced that he will resign on 1 February 2004. A letter announcing his intention was read to the church's governing council meeting in Calgary on Sunday 11 May. The mandatory age of retirement for Anglican bishops in Canada is 70. Archbishop Peers was born in 1934.
His resignation will clear the way for the election of a new Anglican Primate by General Synod at its next meeting in St Catharines, Ontario, in June 2004. General Synod is the chief legislative body of the Anglican Church and meets every three years. It is made up of representatives from across the country and includes bishops, priests and lay people.
Archbishop Peers' letter was read to the Council of General Synod by Archbishop David Crawley, Metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia. Archbishop Crawley is the church's senior Archbishop and will serve as acting Primate between Archbishop Peers' resignation and the election of a successor.
As Primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Peers is the church's chief pastor and chief executive officer. The Primate is president of General Synod, chair of the Council of General Synod, which governs the church in years when General Synod does not meet, and chair of the House of Bishops, a national gathering of Anglican bishops that meets twice a year. He is also the voice of the Anglican Church of Canada on the international stage and with the worldwide Anglican Communion.
He also serves as President of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba, providing a personal link between the Cuban Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Peers was born in Vancouver, ordained priest in the diocese of Ottawa in 1960 and elected Bishop of the diocese of Qu'Appelle in 1977. Between 1982 and his election as Primate in 1986, Archbishop Peers was Metropolitan or Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert's Land.
He is fluent in several languages and, before turning to the study of theology, obtained a German-English interpreter's certificate from the University of Heidelberg. He has received many honorary degrees, including a doctorate of theology from the Vancouver School of Theology earlier this month.
Archbishop Peers and his wife, Dorothy, have three grown children and two grandchildren.