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Justin Welby’s ecumenical adviser to be Deputy Secretary General in new ACO Core Team

Posted on: February 12, 2021 10:48 AM
The new ACO Core Team - top row: Dr Will Adam and Stephanie Taylor; bottom row: Michelle Ormesher, and Gavin Drake
Photo Credit: ACNS

The Anglican Communion’s Director of Unity, Faith and Order, Dr Will Adam, has been appointed Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Dr Adam will step down as ecumenical adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to take on the new role, which will see the part time Director of Unity, Faith and Order becoming full time.

The new position is one of four in a new Core Team of Directors at the ACO, with responsibility for leading on operational matters. The other team members are Stephanie Taylor, who becomes the new Director of Administration and Logistics; Michelle Ormesher, who becomes Director of Finance; and Gavin Drake, who becomes Communications and IT Director in a reconfigured role.

The changes are part of an ongoing restructuring of the Anglican Communion Office, which was announced last month. The Anglican Communion Office is three international Anglican bodies: the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Alliance, and the Lambeth Conference. The restructuring affects only those staff employed by the ACC.

“This new core team at the ACO will help us to better serve the Instruments of Communion and our family of 41 interdependent national and regional Churches”, the Anglican Communion’s Secretary General, Dr Idowu-Fearon said. “I am delighted that the four roles have been filled through internal appointments – each of the four directors brings considerable expertise and knowledge; and all have a love for the Anglican Communion.”

He added: “Dr Adam has a heart for ecumenism and I am delighted that his position at the ACO is to become full time. Since his arrival at the ACO in 2019, he has become a valued colleague and adviser, not only in the area of Unity, Faith and Order, but also on a much wider agenda. I look forward to continuing to take his counsel in the years ahead.”

His appointment was welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who said: “the call for Christian unity is central to our mission as God’s church, echoing Jesus’ final prayer in John 17, ‘that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me’. At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed our global interconnectness and interdependence, there is no one better than Will to help lead the Anglican Communion’s global work of building relationships, seeking peace and calling for justice.

“We will miss him at Lambeth Palace, but we are delighted the entire Anglican Communion will be able to benefit from his wisdom, experience and passion for Christian unity around the world. My prayers are with him as he begins this vital role”.

In 2017, Will Adam was appointed to the combined role of Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ecumenical Adviser and Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity. In 2019, he relinquished the Church of England part of his role to take up the part-time post of Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion, alongside his role for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Now, he will step down from his role at Lambeth Palace in order to take on the now full-time post of Director of Unity, Faith and Order and Deputy Secretary General.

Commenting on his appointment, Will Adam said: “I am pleased to be taking up this new role in an important time in the life of the Anglican Communion as we prepare for the Lambeth Conference in 2022. I look forward to supporting the Secretary General in his work both within the Anglican Communion Office and around the provinces of the Communion and to continue working to support the ecumenical, doctrinal and liturgical work of the Communion”.

The newly created role of Director of Administration and Logistics has been filled by Stephanie Taylor, who had been working as Executive Officer to the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Communion. Michelle Ormesher, who had been interim Finance Director following the stepping down of Michaela Southworth last month, has had her position made permanent. And Gavin Drake, who had been Director for Communications, becomes Communications and IT Director.

“Since her arrival at the ACO in 2014, Stephanie has played an increasingly important role in supporting the Instruments of Communion”, Dr Idowu-Fearon said. “Her leadership and planning skills have helped to ensure the smooth running and effectiveness of several important international gatherings. She is well known to the primates and other senior leaders of the Communion around the world and I am sure that they will all celebrate with me on the news of her new role.”

Dr Idowu-Fearon continued: “Michelle joined our team last year, in the middle of the first Coronavirus lockdown in the UK, to serve as Head of Finance under our then Finance Director Michaela Southworth. While the whole office was sad to have said goodbye to Michaela, we are all delighted that Michelle has accepted the invitation to step up as Director of Finance. Despite the difficulties of a closed office and remote working, Michelle has become a trusted and efficient member of the team and her promotion is well deserved.

“In some ways, the new role is ‘business as usual’ for Gavin, as he has been our Director for Communications since May 2019 and has been our IT lead for some time”, Dr Idowu-Fearon said. “Gavin has long-standing connections with the Anglican Communion: his first involvement with the ACO came in 2005 when he was seconded by the Diocese of Lichfield to provide communications support for the ACC-13 meeting in Nottingham. He has since supported the communications team as a consultant and freelance in various capacities prior to joining the staff team in December 2017. I look forward to his continued advice and support.”

Commenting on her new role, Stephanie Taylor said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been appointed Director of Administration and Logistics. It is an immense privilege to serve our beloved Anglican Communion. I look forward to working in koinonia with my sisters and brothers around the world in the mission we are called to; to building the relationships I have had the blessing of making in the last seven years and forming new ones; and to faithfully serving the Instruments of Communion in their vital activity, discernment, and relational and missional interdependence.”

Michelle Ormesher said: “I am delighted to have been given the promotion to Finance Director. It has been wonderful working with Michaela and while I am sad to see her go I am eager to build on what we have already achieved during this time of remote working to modernise our finance function. We have a great team that love to support the office in delivering their vital work and we look forward especially to the build-up and delivery of the Lambeth Conference.”

Gavin Drake added: “It is a great privilege to serve the Anglican Communion, its Instruments of Communion and its member churches. I look forward to continuing to work closely with my colleagues in this new Core Team as we work to deliver the Standing Commission’s vision of a Secretariat that is better able to serve the whole Anglican Communion.”

  • Further information about the new Core Team members, together with other details of the restructuring, can be found on a dedicated Anglican Communion webpage: