Episcopal priest elected chair of International Anglican Women’s Network

Posted Jul 10, 2024

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Rev. Helen Van Koevering, rector of St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church in Lexington, Kentucky, has been elected chair of the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN). Hera Clarke-Dancer from the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, was elected deputy chair.

Van Koevering previously was engaged in mission and ministry with the Diocese of Niassa in northern Mozambique from 1990 to 2015. She joined IAWN in 2019. Her husband, the Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering, is bishop of the Diocese of Lexington.

The Ven. Carol Hughes, archdeacon of Auckland, steps down as chair after five years as does deputy chair, the Rev. Lizzi Green from the Church of England, who will stay on the Steering Group.

Van Koevering said, “As the newly elected chair of IAWN, I follow some wonderful previous chairs — Carol and Jenny — who have shown the way to hold and encourage the skills and enthusiasm of the Steering Group members. And we have a strong team of women theologians and practitioners of mission with women around the Communion. I will be very keen to hear and raise up new voices and angles of view on the intergenerational and real experience of women globally. Women hold up half the sky, as I’ve known African women theologians to say. Listening for and learning from women’s faith, hope, resistance and dignity as beloved of God is as vital today for the church and the world as ever.”

The IAWN serves as a global voice of Anglican women, links women from around the world and is an official network of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its mission statement says, “We are a bold and prophetic voice for all women throughout the Anglican Communion working to uphold the God-given dignity of women and girls, to eradicate gender-based inequality and violence, and to promote just relationships among all people.”

The IAWN Steering Group Committee met in person for the first time in six years at the Anglican Communion Office in London earlier in June. The Steering Group discussed strategy, the production of resources and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign that takes place at the end of the year.

Mandy Marshall, the director of gender justice at the Anglican Communion and Anglican Alliance, said, “It was so encouraging to host the IAWN Steering Group recently at the Anglican Communion office. Sharing our stories together and the pain of working towards bringing gender equality and justice around the Anglican Communion. The International Anglican Women’s Network is one of the untapped resources of the Anglican Communion.

“I’m so pleased that Rev. Helen has been elected as chair of IAWN and Hera as deputy chair. Both will bring a range of experiences to the roles; Helen from her time in Mozambique as well as a rector in The Episcopal Church and Hera from her perspective as an indigenous Moauri in the Province of ANZP. It is so important that the Steering Group reflects the diversity of the Anglican Communion, and this has been achieved with this new group. I look forward to working with and alongside them.”