The Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion, the Right Revd Dr Jo Bailey Wells, is to take up the role of Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. The announcement was made this morning (Wednesday) by the Secretary General, the Right Revd Anthony Poggo.
The Anglican Communion is a global family of 42 autonomous and independent-yet-interdependent regional, national and pan-national churches active in more than 165 countries. The Secretary General, Bishop Anthony Poggo, is responsible for managing the Anglican Communion’s secretariat, based at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) in London.
In her new role, Bishop Jo will assist in leading the work of the Anglican Communion Office in collaboration with the Secretary General, and will also continue to progress her current portfolio of work, overseeing episcopal ministry development and Phase Three of the Lambeth Conference, focused on the Lambeth Calls.
Announcing Bishop Jo’s initial appointment, Bishop Anthony Poggo said that the post had been created to “foster a collaborative, engaged, enriched fellowship among the bishops of the Anglican Communion, inspiring ever greater companionship, learning and interchange between provinces.”
Today, Bishop Anthony said: “Bishop Jo plays an important role in the life of the Anglican Communion Office and the wider Anglican Communion. As my deputy, she will play an increased role of the leadership in the Secretariat while continuing to develop connections between bishops around the world.
“I have just completed my first year in post. Over the past 12 months I have managed to engage personally with the leaders of all 42 of our member churches, and I look forward to further engagement in the years ahead. I am very grateful to Bishop Jo for accepting the invitation to step into this new role. Her leadership will be vital as I step up my own engagement with our member churches.”
The Chair of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, Canon Maggie Swinson, said: “Although Bishop Jo has served in her current role for less than a year, she has already had a significant impact in developing connections between bishops across provinces and cultures. Her new role as Deputy Secretary General is indicative of the importance of this work and I am delighted that she has accepted the invitation to take on this new additional responsibility.”
Bishop Jo said: “it’s been all joy serving with and under Bishop Anthony since I came to the Anglican Communion Office last January for Phase Three of the Lambeth Conference journey. I’ve been working with bishops all over the world as we continue to confer. I have particularly enjoyed helping to induct new bishops. I am hugely honoured now to be invited to serve as Deputy Secretary General.
“The global Communion has ever been at the heart of my commitment within the body of Christ. Though my faith was nurtured in the Church of England, it was in Uganda that I came to understand Anglicanism; and it was during my first spell in the United States that I discovered the call to ordination. Over the years I have also served – more briefly – in other countries and provinces, from Haiti to South Sudan to Australia – where I have relished the way Jesus finds expression in different contexts and cultures.”
Bishop Jo was ordained in the Church of England as deacon in 1995, priest in 1996 and bishop in 2016. She has served as Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, and held teaching roles variously at the University of Cambridge, at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, and at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina. At Duke she also founded the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies.
From 2013 she was Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury – during which she was instrumental in founding the Community of St Anselm. She moved to the Diocese of Guildford as Bishop of Dorking in 2016. In January 2023 she took up her role as Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion.