Tributes have been flowing in to the Anglican Communion Office in London for Christine Codner, who has retired as Executive Officer after more than three decades. Christine joined in 1983 - and certainly didn’t think it was going to end up being a job for life: ”I still remember at my job interview how alarmed I was when it was implied I was to stay on for the next Lambeth Conference – which was five years later!” she said.
Christine went on to experience three Lambeth Conferences as well as many ACC meetings around the globe: “It is now with real mix of emotions I say farewell following these past decades from a job that has grown very much into a vocation. Being young, enthusiastic and working out how to live and work as a Christian drove my discipleship and growth in faith. Looking back, it has been an exceptional, amazing journey.”
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu Fearon, expressed thanks to Christine on behalf of all the staff at the Anglican Communion Office: “Over 34 years Christine has supported a number of Secretary Generals and has been present at many major Anglican gatherings beginning with her first ACC meeting in Nigeria in 1984. Always a reliable co-ordinator, first rate organiser and also a cheery presence, she will be much missed. On behalf of the whole Anglican Communion I would like to pass on my best wishes to Christine and her family upon her retirement.”
Back in 1983, the Revd Sam Van Culin was the Secretary General and he recalls those days fondly: “Over 30 years ago you and I began our work together, organising, developing, and supporting the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates’ meetings and the Lambeth Conference of 1988. You were there when we first developed the Networks and you played an important role in many of them. It was in these early years that you helped us organise the Anglican Communion Secretariat. I was always grateful during my years as Secretary-General for your dedicated hard work, patience, sophisticated sense of humour and generous friendship, both to myself and to colleagues in the office” he said.
The Secretary General from 1995-2004, the Revd Canon John L. Peterson, said Christine had helped to mold the Anglican Communion into what it is today: “While all of your colleagues will have their Christine stories to tell, one of the threads in all the stories will be your dedication and care for the global family of the Anglican Communion. Over your tenure you have seen the Anglican Communion grow into a Communion of Churches which strives daily to do Jesus’ ministry in the complexity of diverse nations and cultures. You will be missed Christine.”
Bishop David Hamid of the Diocese in Europe described Christine as an excellent ambassador for the Anglican Communion internationally: “When we were operating together either at international dialogue sessions in the middle of Romania, or meetings of Primates in Canterbury or ACC in Hong Kong, I was always impressed by the high esteem with which you were held in the opinion of our ecumenical partners and Church leaders around the world. I always got the sense that they would poach you in an instant, if I were to let them!”
For Bishop Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General for ten years until 2014, Christine was always the model of order and organisation: “Always on top of each situation, files ready to hand, one step ahead of others and with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the Anglican Communion which is second to none."
Bishop Gregory Cameron, former Deputy Secretary General shared fond memories: “We travelled the world together finding exotic but economical locations for Commission meetings, but you never once flapped. You have been dedicated to the success of the Anglican Communion.You have shared your smile with a thousand people, even when they were annoying, and in a thousand situations, when other tempers were getting frayed. Your calm, your sense of fun, and your steady friendship sustained me in those years."
For herself, Christine says many memories swirl around: “To name but a few: doctrinal commissions, meetings of Primates, and ecumenical dialogues that have left a whole host of images of table thumping, liturgies, rituals and late night working. I am grateful to all whom I have met on this journey, for all the kindness and friendships. It has been a pleasure encountering so many of you over the years, and I pray that God will richly bless you. I feel honoured to have had this wonderful privilege to serve the wider Anglican Communion in this way, as well as working with wonderful friends and colleagues to implement and sustain the work of this office for God’s Kingdom and His Church.”