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Focus on peace-making

22 February 2013

BBC

David Porter: to join Archbishop Welby's personal staff part-time

David Porter: to join Archbishop Welby's personal staff part-time

THE Canon Director of Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral, David Porter, is to join the Archbishop of Canterbury's personal staff. His brief will include finding ways to heal divisions in the Anglican Communion.

Mr Porter will remain in his post at Coventry Cathedral, and will be seconded to work for Archbishop Welby part-time, Lambeth Palace said in a statement. Archbishop Welby was Mr Porter's predecessor at Coventry Cathedral.

The Lambeth statement said: "The focus of Canon David's role will be to enable the Church to make a powerful contribution to transforming the often violent conflicts that overshadow the lives of so many people in the world. His initial focus will be on supporting creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion."

Mr Porter has been facilitating discussions between members of the working group convened by the House of Bishops to resolve the deadlock on women bishops ( News, 15 February). Lambeth Palace said that he had "extensive front-line experience" in conflict resolution, including serving on the Northern Ireland Civic Forum.

Archbishop Welby said: "David brings a wealth of experience in reconciliation and peace-building from his work in Northern Ireland, and through the Community of the Cross of Nails in Coventry. Conflict is an ever-present reality in both the Church and wider society.

"Christians have been at the centre of reconciliation throughout history. We may not have always handled our own conflicts wisely, but it is essential that we work towards demonstrating ways of reducing destructive conflict in our world - and also towards setting an example of how to manage conflict within the Church."

Mr Porter wrote in a blog on Tuesday that he had "Anabaptist convictions", and a "pragmatic approach". He continued: "While an initial focus [of the Lambeth job] will be on the ongoing conflicts within the Church over deeply held differences, the ultimate aim is to look out to a world torn apart by violent conflicts, and enable the Church to live as the children of God, peace-makers."

The Fellowship of Reconciliation welcomed Mr Porter's appointment, saying in a statement that it looked forward "to working with him to inspire and equip Christians to be practical peace-makers".

Primate's message. The Anglican Communion must not be too inward-looking, Archbishop Welby said this month in an interview with Anglican World, a magazine published by the Anglican Communion. He said: "What do we mean by the Anglican Communion, and how does it contribute as a blessing to the world in which we live in its present circumstances? . . .

"That challenge to the imagination is something that is constantly renewed, and we need to be very reactive to it, and not allow ourselves to get bogged down in looking inward."

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