New Anglican Communion deputy secretary general and ACO core team unveiled

Posted Feb 12, 2021

[Anglican Communion] The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has announced that the Rev. William Adam has been appointed deputy secretary general. 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,” 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.”

William Adam was appointed to serve in the combined role of the 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,” 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 Rev. 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 interconnectedness 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, 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 and 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,” 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.”

Taylor said: “I am honored 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.

Ormesher, a chartered accountant, brings with her a wealth of financial knowledge, particularly in the charity and nonprofit sector, having worked at the U.K.’s National Audit Office with clients such as the V&A Museum, the Home Office and the Pan American Health Organization. She also spent six years living in Mexico, running family businesses.

Commenting on the appointment, Idowu-Fearon said: “Michelle joined our team last year, in the middle of the first coronavirus lockdown in the U.K., 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.”

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 modernize 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 reconfigured 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,” Idowu-Fearon said. “Gavin has longstanding 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 freelancer 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, 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 reorganization of the Anglican Communion Office, which was announced last month. The reorganization 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