In a historic move, the Anglican diocese of Rupert's Land appointed a Lutheran pastor, the Rev Paul Johnson, as dean of the diocese and incumbent for St John's Cathedral in Winnipeg, reports the Anglican Journal.
This is the first time a Canadian Lutheran pastor has been appointed dean in an Anglican cathedral in Canada. A dean is the priest in charge of a cathedral ('mother church') and occupies a senior position in a diocese.
The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have been in full communion since 2001, which means their clergy may serve in one another's churches.
In an email sent to clergy on 27 September 2011, the bishop of the diocese of Rupert's Land, the Rt Rev Don Phillips, informed clergy of Rev Johnson's appointment and said that the diocese was "looking forward to this new beginning in the life of our church."
A rostered (ordained) Lutheran pastor of the Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), Mr Johnson was previously the assistant to the National Bishop of the ELCIC, Ray Schultz, from 2003 to 2007, and to his successor, Bishop Susan Johnson, from 2007 to 2009.
"In addition to being heavily involved in ecumenical work locally, nationally and internationally, Paul served several years as an Honorary Assistant at our Cathedral," said Bishop Phillips.
Ordained a pastor in the Saskatchewan Synod of the ELCIC in 1987, the Rev Johnson also served pastorates in Regina, Winnipeg, and Emerson, Manitoba.
Mr Johnson begins his appointment on 16 January 2012. He succeeds Dean Robert (Bob) Osborne, who retired last year.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]