Anglican Communion Finance Director moves to Church of England’s Chelmsford Diocese

27 January 2021

The Director of Finance and Resources at the Anglican Communion Office, Michaela Southworth, is to leave her post at the end of this week to take up the position of Finance Director for the Church of England’s Diocese of Chelmsford. Michaela, a former investment banker at RBS in London, joined the Anglican Communion Office in the summer of 2017.

The Anglican Communion Office (ACO) is home to three connected charities: The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Lambeth Conference Company, and the Anglican Alliance. Together, they serve as the international secretariat for the Anglican Communion, a global family of 41 national and regional independent but interdependent autonomous churches.

The Diocese of Chelmsford is the Church of England in Essex and east London.

“I have so enjoyed my time at the Anglican Communion Office”, Michaela said. “What initially started as a short term interim role became a three-and-a-half-year adventure. It has been a privilege to learn more about our global Communion and to support the inspirational work which is organised through the office. It is now time to move on, and I am excited to be joining the Diocese of Chelmsford as their Finance Director.”

She added: “Chelmsford is a large and very diverse diocese which will soon welcome their new Bishop, Guli Francis-Dehqani. I will have lots to learn, and I’m sure there will be lots to do to help balance the books and make sure the diocese can make the best use of the resources God has granted to pursue the Church’s mission to transform the communities of Essex and east London through Christ’s presence.”

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, paid tribute to Michaela, saying: “since her appointment in 2017, Michaela has proved to be an invaluable member of the ACO team across all three charities. Her financial acumen has helped to update our financial systems and her oversight of our small guest house has resulted in plaudits from visitors across the world.”

He added: “The entire staff team will miss Michaela and all that she has contributed to the ACO Community. But she is not lost to the Anglican Communion – she goes with our prayers and best wishes for her new role in the Diocese of Chelmsford.”

Leaders of the Anglican Alliance and Lambeth Conference Company also paid tribute.

“At the Anglican Alliance we have really valued Michaela’s role”, the Executive Director, the Revd Rachel Carnegie, said. “She has brought her superb skills in financial planning and management, but also a deep commitment to supporting the Communion’s mission in the world. She also has wonderful personal qualities of compassion, wisdom and humour.”

The Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company, Phil George, said: “Michaela has been a ‘tower of strength’ in her role as Finance Director of the Lambeth Conference. It has been wonderful working together on all matters relating to finance and she will be missed enormously. I wish her well in her new role and welcome Michelle as she joins the finance team.”

The Diocese of Chelmsford’s Interim Chief Executive and Diocesan Secretary, the Revd Canon Dr Roger Matthews, said “We are delighted that Michaela will be joining the Diocese of Chelmsford as our new Finance Director. Michaela brings a wealth of experience from senior financial positions in the Church and the private sector.

“She will play a pivotal role in strengthening our finances and supporting the mission and ministry of our churches and worshipping communities in Essex and east London.”

Michaela’s departure is not part of the re-organisation of the Anglican Consultative Council, which was announced last week.

Michaela, who is originally from Otley in West Yorkshire, went into banking after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG. She read Mathematics at Newham College, Cambridge. In addition to her role with the Anglican Communion Office, she has, for the past three years, been an elected member of the Church of England Pensions Board.

Her role at the Anglican Communion Office will be filled on an interim basis by Michelle Ormesher, who joined the team as Head of Finance last year.