By Lincoln DePradine
Plans are underway to establish a scholarship in the name of Barbados-born Peter Fenty, the first Black person to serve as Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Fenty joined the priesthood following his ordination in his Caribbean homeland in 1975. He moved to Montreal, Canada, in 1992 and later relocated to Ontario.
He recently retired after seven years as a Church of Canada Bishop.
“It’s taken a long time for us to have a Black Bishop in Canada but he will not be the last,’’ Lance Wilson,co-chair of Black Anglicans of Canada, said at a recent online retirement event for Fenty.
Wilson organized the event which brought together Fenty’s relatives and friends in Canada, the United States and Barbados, as well members of the clergy and and others in the Anglican community.
Apart from working on several diocesan committees in Canada, Fenty served as rector of St Lawrence Church in the Diocese of Montreal, archdeacon of York and the executive officer to the Bishop of Toronto.
Fenty, 66, was elected Suffragan Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto in 2013.
Wilson, speaking during the online celebration of the retired bishop’s “life and ministry’’, said the newly announced Peter Fenty scholarship fund is in honour of his “noteworthy’’ achievements.
“The scholarship will be for people of African descent who feel God’s call to the ordained ministry, ” Wilson said.
Fenty, with his “calming influence and deep wisdom’’, played a “profound’’ leadership role in the Anglican Church, said The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil, Bishop of Toronto.
“You have imparted so much to so many,’’ Asbil said, referring to Bishop Fenty. “You have been a profound leader amongst the Black Anglicans of Canada, speaking into moments of hurt and despair, racism and injustice. And, you’ve leaned into changing structures and speaking truth to power, always with the heart of a pastor and the tongue of a prophet. And, you have done so with a sense of urgency.”
Author and historian Rosemary Sadlier, president of the Ontario Black History Society from 1993 to 2015, described Bishop Fenty as ” a strong advocate for social justice, human rights as well as ecumenicalism
In a tribute to the bishop, Barbados’s consul general in Toronto, Sonia Marville-Carter, wished Fenty “a long and productive second phase’’ of his life.
“We know yours is a calling and vocation from which one never truly retires. Although you may not be physically on a roster somewhere scheduled to preach, we know you will still share the gospel,” Marville-Carter said.
In brief remarks, Fenty said he always felt that “priesthood was my vocation,’’ and he thanked his “beloved wife, Anne,’’ for being supportive all through the years in the ups and downs, the trials and the difficult moves that we made for ministry.”
Canon Stephen Fields is heading a committee to oversee the scholarship fund, with the first award to be presented next year.