The Archbishop of Canterbury’s senior reconciliation manager, Martha Jarvis, is to switch to a new role as the Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In her new role, Martha Jarvis will be based at the Anglican Communion Office in London, and will lead a small staff team based in New York and Geneva. Together, the Anglican Communion’s UN team creates a bridge between more than 85 million Anglicans around the world and UN institutions, including the Security Council, Environment Programme, Refugee Agency, and Human Rights Council.
The Anglican Communion is a fellowship of 42 national, pan-national and regional independent-yet-interdependent churches, active in over 165 countries. The churches are engaged in peacebuilding and reconciliation, tackling climate change, improving health and education, fighting for gender justice, protecting the environment, and other issues of concern to the United Nations.
The Anglican Communion has been represented formally at the United Nations since 1985, when it first achieved Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. Since then, the Anglican Communion has been recognised by a growing number of UN bodies.
In her current role, Martha is responsible for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s peacebuilding efforts in Mozambique and South Sudan and with First Nations communities around the world. She is coordinating the ecumenical pilgrimage of peace to South Sudan next month by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Pope Francis, and Church of Scotland Moderator Iain Greenshields; and she was key to shaping the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Canada last year, where he apologised for the Church of England’s role in abuses experienced by Indigenous, First Nation and Métis communities. She has developed new partnerships to support community dialogue and pioneered work with ethical investors in areas of conflict, building trusted relationships with senior ecumenical leaders, diplomats, private sector leaders, the UN and Heads of State.
She also manages the international growth of the Difference Course, an initiative of the Archbishop’s Reconciliation ministry to mobilise a generation of peacemakers; and coordinated and presented reconciliation content at last year’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, the decennial gathering which took place in Canterbury.
“At a time when many are wrestling with questions of division, injustice and the future of our planet, I have been privileged to see Anglicans across the world, inspired by their faith in Jesus Christ, showing that new ways are possible amidst even the most challenging situations,” Martha Jarvis said. “It will be an honour to represent them and the Archbishop of Canterbury at the United Nations, drawing on the UN’s immense expertise and capacity, to strengthen how we address global issues together.
“The Church can create opportunities for dialogue and genuine encounter, through which hope can emerge.”
Welcoming the appointment, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I am delighted in Martha’s appointment, and especially as she has so much experience of working directly with the UN, where she has built considerable levels of trust and respect. This has been particularly evident in the partnership between the UN’s Mediation Support Unit and the Anglican Churches in South Sudan and Mozambique, where Martha’s convening and encouragement has established extraordinary new partnerships. I believe that this experience, combined with her Godly calling to be a reconciler, could help shape the Anglican Communion’s future engagements with the UN in new and vital ways.”.
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, said: “I know Martha well through my previous role as Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs at Lambeth Palace and I am delighted that she will be joining the staff team here at the Anglican Communion Office. She has a fantastic grasp of international affairs and the churches of the Anglican Communion through her current role, and she will quickly make a big impact in helping our churches have their voices heard in the United Nations’ corridors of power.”
Martha Jarvis will begin her new role in March, succeeding Jack Palmer-White, who stood down as the Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations last year.