The Chair of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, Maggie Swinson, has been commissioned for her role in the Cathedral she serves as an honorary Lay Canon. Maggie, a former member of the Church of England’s General Synod, was appointed to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) as one of the three C of E representatives in time for ACC-15, in Auckland, New Zealand in 2012.
At the following plenary meeting, ACC-16 in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2016, she was elected vice-chair, working alongside the then-Chair, Archbishop Paul Kwong, for the six year term that included ACC-17 in Hong Kong in 2019, and ACC-18 in Accra, Ghana, in February 2023. At the Accra meeting, she was nominated unopposed as Chair of the ACC and Anglican Communion Standing Committee.
Maggie has a wide range of experience gained over the last 30 years in the structures of the Church of England, and also as moderator of the ecumenical Churches Together in Britain and Ireland group (CTBI). She is also the Interim Chair of Trustees of the UK’s ecumenical development agency Christian Aid; and the Independent Reviewer – an ombudsman-style role that rules on concerns and disputes over the Church of England’s settlement that enabled the consecration of women to the episcopate.
She is a lay canon at Liverpool Cathedral, and following her unopposed election as Chair of the ACC, the Cathedral and Bishop of Liverpool decided to celebrate the appointment with a special commissioning service.
It was a “joy to commission Canon Maggie Swinson as Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council at the Evensong in Liverpool Cathedral today”, Bishop John Perumbalath said after the service. He added that it was “great to have Bishop Anthony Poggo, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, as preacher, and some of the ACC staff from London joining us in this celebration of the work of ACC and the bonds of love within the Anglican Communion.”
In his sermon, Bishop Anthony Poggo paid tribute to Maggie’s ministry, saying: “Maggie has visited several parts of the Communion and was part of the team that did the exploratory work leading to the creation of several new provinces, including Alexandria and Sudan; and has also been part of the group looking at the process of Sri Lanka becoming a province.
“She has also introduced a new regular reporting mechanism – the Chairs’ Update – with quarterly updates of the life of the Anglican Communion. Primarily, this is for all members of the ACC, and also all the bishops of the Communion. It is so good that we publish it on our website. Maggie was also responsible for leading the implementation of a major review and re-focus of the work and structure of the Anglican Communion Office – a remarkable piece of work as it took place during the Covid-19 lockdowns. She was also on the panel that interviewed me and others for the role of Secretary General.
“In my role as Secretary General, I report to Maggie. I have found her to be accessible. She works collaboratively with the Vice Chair of the ACC, Archbishop Hosam Naoum, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. We have joint regular catch ups which means that I feel supported.
“Thank you, Maggie, for the commitment that you have to the Anglican Communion globally, and also to the ACO and its staff team.”
Drawing on the New Testament reading, Ephesians 4: 1-16, he said: “this passages . . . tells us of the varying gifts of God in ministry. The ACC aims to enable the whole of the global Church to engage in leadership and share the Communion family that we are a part of. When it began it was specifically about a place for lay voices and women’s voices that had previously been excluded. Continuing to work at inclusion, in this generation it is about ensuring there are also indigenous voices present, and that in a post-colonial era, we address the imbalance of power in the global dynamics.”
Maggie Swinson is a qualified chartered accountant and works as company secretary of a social enterprise delivering healthcare contracts where her focus is on corporate governance. She has also served as a non-executive director in two different National Health Service (NHS) trusts in the UK. She is a governor of Liverpool Hope University and also finds time to sing in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir.