New Anglican Communion Deputy Secretary General and ACO Core Team unveiled

12 February 2021

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has announced that the Reverend Dr William Adam has been appointed Deputy Secretary General. Will Adam will be one of four directors making up a new “Core Team” at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO). He will serve alongside Stephanie Taylor (Director of Administration and Logistics), Michelle Ormesher (Director of Finance) and Gavin Drake (Communications and IT Director) in the Core Team, which has responsibility for leadership of operational matters at the ACO.

“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”, 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.”

Will Adam was appointed to serve in the combined role of Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ecumenical Adviser and Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity in 2017. 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.

“Dr Adam has a heart for ecumenism and I am delighted that his position at the ACO is to become full time”, Dr Idowu-Fearon said. “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.”

The appointment was welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Right Honourable 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”.

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”.

Stephanie Taylor takes up a new role of Director of Administration and Logistics. She joined the ACO in 2014 after serving The National Autistic Society and Christian Aid; and became Executive Officer to the Instruments of Communion in 2017, playing a central role in the delivery of two plenary meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council and four Primates’ Meetings; as well as serving the Primates’ Task Group, which met from 2016-2020.

She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, was the Anglican Communion Representative to the Global Theological Library Consortium in Geneva from 2016 to 2018.

“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.”

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 joined the Anglican Communion in 2019 as Head of Finance. She has served as Interim Director of Finance last month following the departure of Michaela Southworth, who resigned to take up a post with the Church of England’s Diocese of Chelmsford. With today’s announcement, her interim appointment is now made permanent.

Michelle, a chartered accountant, brings with her a wealth of financial knowledge particularly in the Charity and not for profit sector having worked at the UK’s National Audit Office with clients such as the V&A Museum, Home Office and the Pan American Health Organisation. Michelle also spent six years living in Mexico running their family businesses.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Idowu-Fearon, said: “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.”

Michelle Ormesher added: “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 is the final member of the new Core Team. His existing Director for Communications role has been configured and he now serves as Communications and IT Director.

“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 the change, Gavin Drake said: “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.”

The new Core Team of directors is part of an ongoing re-organisation of the Anglican Communion Office, which was announced last month. The re-organisation affects only those staff employed by the Anglican Consultative Council. Two other charities work alongside the Anglican Consultative Council: the Anglican Alliance and the Lambeth Conference. The new Core Team will support all three entities.

  • A consultation with staff is ongoing over additional changes to the staffing structure. Further information on the restructuring is available at anglicancommunion.org/renewal2021.

ENDS

NOTES:

  1. The Anglican Communion is the world’s third largest Christian denomination. It is a family of 41 national and regional churches across the world in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Each Church in the Anglican Communion is independent and autonomous, but interdependent. The Anglican Communion has no “head office” or central decision-making body. The Anglican Communion Office is a secretariat serving the member churches and the Instruments of Communion (also called the Instruments of Unity). The bulk of the Anglican Communion Office staff are based in London; there is also an office in New York, supporting representation to the United Nations.

  2. The Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Communion are:

    • The Anglican Consultative Council: This is a body of lay people, priests and bishops nominated from each of the provinces (member churches). It meets roughly every three years to facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion, exchange information between the provinces and churches, and help to co-ordinate common action. It advises on the organisation and structures of the Communion, and seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church, including ecumenical matters. The Anglican Consultative Council is a registered charity in England and the legal employer of most of the staff at the Anglican Communion Office. Its Standing Committee are the trustees under English charity law.

      The Anglican Consultative Council last met in Hong Kong in May 2019; it is next due to meet in Accra, Ghana in early 2023.

    • The Primates’ Meeting brings together the most senior bishop (known variously as archbishops, moderators and presiding bishops) of the member churches for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation”. The Primates have no authority as a body and their own national churches determine how their ministry is carried out in their own context.

      The Primates’ Meeting last met in person in Jordan in January 2020. They held a virtual meeting in November 2020 and will meet again virtually in November 2021 ahead of an in-person meeting in Rome in March 2022.

    • The Lambeth Conference is a meeting to which all the bishops of the Anglican Communion are invited. It meets roughly every 10 years as an informal and consultative gathering of bishops. It has no jurisdictional power but contributes to greater Anglican unity and cohesion.

      The Lambeth Conference last met in Canterbury in the summer of 2008. It was due to meet in 2020 but has been postponed until 2022 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • The Archbishop of Canterbury is the diocesan bishop for Canterbury and Primate of All England. He does not have any jurisdictional power over any other member church of the Anglican Communion, but is recognised as a spiritual leader of the Communion. He is “primus inter pares” – the first among equals – of the other primates of the member churches. He is President of the Anglican Consultative Council, Chair of the Primates Meeting, and convenor of the Lambeth Conference.

  3. Members of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee are the legal trustees of the Anglican Consultative Council – a registered English charitable company. The Standing Committee includes members elected at plenary sessions of the Anglican Consultative Council; and five primates chosen regionally by their fellow primates.