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New leaders elected for worldwide Anglican Communion

Posted on: April 19, 2016 3:30 PM
Photo Credit: Gavin Drake / ACNS

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A lay canon of England’s Liverpool Cathedral has been elected unopposed to serve as vice-chair of the Anglican Consultative Council. She joins the Archbishop of Hong Kong, the Most Revd Dr Paul Kwong, who was elected last week as chair of the body; and five new members of the Standing Committee.

The Anglican Consultative Council is the legally constituted body that brings together representatives of the different provinces – national or regional churches – in the Anglican Communion. It is an English company and charity; meeting every three to four years. It has just concluded its 16th meeting (ACC-16) at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka. Its Standing Committee are the trustees and directors of the charity and company.

Canon Margaret Swinson, a charted accountant and company secretary in private practice, was elected unopposed as vice-chair on Monday. She brings experience of finance, governance, chairing, shared conversations (Indaba) and ecumenical working.

She said: “I am committed to bishops, clergy and laity working together for the Kingdom through the Communion and ACC, both at the full meetings and through developing its life between meetings.”

The five newly elected members of the Standing Committee are:

The Rt Revd Jane Alexander, Bishop of the Diocese of Edmonton in the Anglican Church of Canada. “I bring a passion for ministry and for the empowerment of the whole church as disciples through the Five Marks of Mission,” she said. “I gave my life to Christ at age 25 and I love this expression of his body – the Anglican Communion.”

Mr Alistair Dinnie, of the Scottish Episcopal Church. A member of St John’s Church in Princes Street, Edinburgh, Mr Dinnie was a lead participant in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s “Cascade Conversations” on human sexuality. He works for NGOs in fields of HIV/Aids and the resettlement of offenders.

Mr Jeroham Melendez, from the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America, is the communications officer for the diocese of Costa Rica. “In my first ACC participation, I feel inspired to take one step forward into assuming new responsibilities,” he said. “As a Standing Committee member I will have the opportunity to serve the communion by coordinating different work initiatives through the various networks. I will support the implementation of communication strategies and improve the channels used with multi-language regions.”

The Very Revd Nigel Pope is the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata in the Church of North India – a united church. He is currently working to support the Diocese of Kolkata’s response to human trafficking, through the setting up of an “Aftercare Home” for young girls who have been rescued from the sex trade. “My spirituality is shaped by a context of extreme poverty, divisions of religion and caste, institutionalised patriarchy minorities and ever increasing violence,” he said. “As an ACC member I feel that a context of human suffering can help the Standing Committee sharpen it vision of international discipleship.”

The Rt Revd Joel Waweru is Bishop of Nairobi in the Anglican Church of Kenya. He has experience of international Anglican agencies, having previously worked as assistant general secretary and then general secretary Church Army Africa. He describes himself as a “focused, decisive, and a firm leader who stands firm for right values.”

In addition to the new chair, vice chair and five new members elected during the ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka, the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee includes the five Primates elected at the Primates Meeting in January in Canterbury to represent their regions:

The Most Revd Dr Philip Freier (Australia), the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke (Ireland), the Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East), the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba (Southern Africa), and the Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Holder (West Indies.

Two members of the previous Sanding Committee continue in office: the Rt Revd Eraste Bigirimana of the Anglican Church of Burundi and Ms Louisa Lette-Mojela, of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is the President of the Standing Committee.

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