The Old Catholic Church of Utrecht, The Netherlands has elected on the 15th of February 2020 The Revd Bernd Wallet as the 17th Archbishop since its formal founding in 1723. He is elected after Archbishop Joris Vercammen retired on the 11th of January. Archbishop Wallet is also the 84e successor of St. Willibrord the first bishop of Utrecht who died on November 7, 739 AD.
The election was done within the context of the Eucharist in the Cathedral Church in Utrecht presided over by Revd Wietse van der Velde, the Dean of the Cathedral Chapter. There were 37 members of the electorate composed of 24 members of the clergy (6 members of the Cathedral Chapter and 18 other diocesan priests) and the chosen 13 lay delegates, by the Board of the Old-Catholic Church, who are members of the parishes of the diocese of Utrecht – two of them are members of the Presidium of the Synod of the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands serving as the President and vice-president representing the laypeople.
Bernd Wallet is among the 18 candidates composed of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Utrecht (9) and Diocese of Haarlem (9) who were qualified in age – at least 30 years old, at least 5 years working as a priest in the Old Catholic Church and not yet retired.
As shared by The Revd Rudolf Scheltinga, Parish Priest of Egmond aan Zee, Diocese of Haarlem and a candidate himself the procedure of the election already finished after one balloting because the first round of the election resulted in 19 votes for Bernd Wallet and 18 votes for the other candidates together.
Bernd Wallet immediately assumes administration of the archdiocese when he accepted his election as asked by the Dean of the Cathedral chapter in front of the congregation.
The Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, The Most Revd Rhee M. Timbang immediately conveyed his congratulatory greetings and prayers after being informed of the result of the election on that day. The message dated 15 February 2020 reads…
We, the leadership of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, receive tonight with great joy and excitement the news on the election of Revd Bernd Wallet as the new Archbishop of the Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands. He is succeeding the former Archbishop Joris Vercammen who retired from office early this year.
We in the IFI extend our warm congratulations, prayers and best wishes on his election. The IFI has long concordat and partnership with the entire Old Catholic Church in Union with the Archbishop of Utrecht since 1965, and this relationship has enabled both churches to accompany with each other in the journey and growth towards God’s mission in Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit by undertaking common areas of work and partnership.
May the new Archbishop Bernd Wallet be filled with the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he embarks and begins a new and greater calling of leadership and servanthood in the Church.
We ask the whole IFI, in forty-nine dioceses here in the Philippines and North America and in the organized congregations in Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom, to pray for the new Archbishop of the Old Catholic Church of The Netherlands and for the entire Old Catholic Church, to pray for the concordat and partnership of the two Churches.
It was a great joy on my part to have witnessed the historical event of our sister church, on behalf of the Obispo Maximo, and served as guest and observer in the election.
It was also an honor to be the first and the only non-Old Catholic bishop to personally greet Archbishop Wallet on the day of his election and to witness the said great event together with Old Catholic Bishops Dick Schoon of Haarlem and Matthias Ring of Germany.