THE Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed the Revd Ijeoma Ajibade as his next chief of staff, Lambeth Palace announced on Thursday.
She will succeed David Porter, who is due to stand down in November, but who will remain on the Archbishop’s staff in a part-time post focused on strategy (News, 29 April).
Ms Ajibade, who is 56, has been the regional director for Europe at the Mission to Seafarers for the past six years. She was ordained deacon in 2010 and priest the following year after training at the South East Institute of Theological Education. She also has degrees from the University of Nigeria, South Bank University, and Heythrop College London.
After her ordination, she served as a non-stipendiary minister at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, for four years. During this time she was made an honorary minor canon of Southwark Cathedral. She was granted Permission to Officiate in the diocese of London in 2014, and the diocese in Europe in 2017.
Ms Ajibade begun her career in local government, working in areas including audit and special investigations, housing advice and homelessness, and welfare benefit administration. She also spent 12 years working for the London Assembly on Assembly Scrutiny, and for two previous Mayors of London (Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson) on economics and business policy.
Archbishop Welby said of her appointment: “To this vital role she brings remarkable experience and skills from her ordained ministry, charity, and local government work, and community activism. In our complex and troubled world, I know we will benefit greatly from Ijeoma’s international perspective, honed while serving with Mission to Seafarers as well as with numerous charities.”
He added: “What connects all these strands for Ijeoma is a deep and abiding love of Jesus Christ — and a passion for the common good based on justice, dignity, and human flourishing. I look forward to working with her enormously and I will pray for her in the months ahead as she prepares to join the Lambeth Palace community.”
Ms Ajibade said that she was “deeply honoured and very excited” about supporting the Archbishop and others within the Lambeth Palace community. “We face complex and difficult challenges in our world today and the Church has a prophetic responsibility to empower, comfort, and encourage people. I hope and pray that I will be able to wisely assist Archbishop Justin as he leads in these complex times.”