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You’ll need the patience of Job, Welby tells new Anglican Communion secretary-general

28 September 2022


The Archbishop of Canterbury with the new secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo

The Archbishop of Canterbury with the new secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo

THE new secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, was commissioned during a eucharist celebrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Tuesday afternoon.

The service was held in the chapel of the Anglican Communion Office in St Andrew’s House, Notting Hill, in west London. The South Sudanese Ambassador, Agnes Oswaha, was in the small congregation.

Bishop Poggo takes up his new post, having been the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs. Before this, he was the Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan.

He was appointed in June, and succeeds the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon (News, 14 June).

During the service, the general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, the Ven. Kofi deGraft-Johnson, read Isaiah 40.6-11, Go up on a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings. . .”

Archbishop Welby, focusing his address on this reading and speaking directly to Bishop Poggo, said: “Anthony, as a herald, you have to hold together several different aspects of your ministry. . . You have a task of theological anthropology.”

The Archbishop spoke of the breadth and diversity of the Anglican Communion. “In all those people there are people . . . who are called as Anglicans to represent and announce the Good News of the gospel of God, and yet they forget it in their struggles with each other.”

Bishop Poggo would need “the patience of Job” in his new post. “You don’t bring the rules of the Communion first, you bring the love of God in Jesus Christ first,” the Archbishop said.

The challenge was to ask “How can we be a Communion that is not dominated by the strong, but is dominated by the Spirit and the word of God?”

Bishop Poggo standing before Archbishop Welby at the altar for the commissioning.

The eucharist then continued, and the live stream switched to a series of shots of the chapel, with a message on screen saying that it was “our standard policy” not to show people receiving communion.

One of the tensions in the Anglican Communion which Bishop Poggo will have to contend with is the refusal of members of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches to communicate alongside same-sex partnered bishops and others who uphold the validity of same-sex marriages (News, 29 July).

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