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Bishop Anthony Poggo and Justin Welby.jpeg thumb.jpeg banner.jpeg
Photo Credit: Anglican Communion Office
Bishop Anthony Poggo and Justin Welby.jpeg thumb.jpeg
Photo Credit: Anglican Communion Office
UK News

Former refugee becomes next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

by Tola Mbakwe

The Anglican Communion has announced a South Sudanese bishop will be its next Secretary General.

Right Rev Anthony Poggo is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs and the former Bishop of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South  Sudan.

He will take up his new role in September, succeeding the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who steps down after next month’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops.

As a former child refugee he said he knows importance of reconciliation and plans to bring that to his new position.

Born in 1964, in what is now South Sudan, Bishop Anthony and his siblings were taken by his father – an Anglican priest – and his mother into Uganda to flee the first Sudanese Civil War. In 1973, at the age of nine, he returned with his family to South Sudan.

He said: “It has reminded me of the importance of reconciliation. I have seen the impact of conflict, the impact of war. People my age have now been displaced at least three times – South Sudanese my age have now been displaced three times. That is not good. That is not healthy. Hence the importance of reconciliation.

“It is important to sort out whatever problems you have rather than allowing the problem to fester, allowing the problem to become a huge issue leading to war, leading to conflict, leading to the death of people, killing of people and displacement, hence my passion for reconciliation.

“Reconciliation is a ministry that is important – where God has shown that himself in sending his son Jesus Christ to reconcile us to himself; and we should be reconciled one with each other. Hence the importance of reconciliation. That is one of the things that I have learned. I always encourage people to reconcile.”

In 2007 he was elected Bishop of Kajo-Keji, a position he held until 2016 when he moved to Lambeth Palace to support the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as his Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs.

“It is a huge privilege to be appointed as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, taking over from the Most Reverend Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon. His are big shoes to fill”, Bishop Anthony said.

“I would like to thank the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee for the trust and confidence in appointing me to lead the staff team at the Anglican Communion Office as it undertakes it role in supporting the Instruments of Communion.

“One of the things that we will be focusing on from September is to support the instruments of the Anglican Communion as they implement the outcomes of the 2022 Lambeth Conference”, Bishop Anthony said. “Please pray for me as I take on this role in leading the ACO team so that the Anglican Communion family will continue in its role of being ‘God’s Church for God’s world’ in such a time as this.”

Bishop Anthony Poggo’s appointment as Secretary General has been welcomed by leaders in the Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, said: “I am delighted that Bishop Anthony Poggo has been appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Over the past six years he has built up an immense knowledge of our global Communion and its people as my Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs. And in that time many people in the Communion have got to know Anthony too – and I am sure that they will join with me in welcoming his appointment.

“Anthony’s wise counsel and his heart for the Gospel will be put to good use in his new role as Secretary General. He starts his new ministry at an exciting time for the Anglican Communion, with next month’s Lambeth Conference helping to set the agenda and focus of our shared mission and ministry for the next decade, as we continue to discern and put into practice our calling to be God’s Church for God’s world.”

The Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi-Arama, is the Primate of Bishop Anthony’s home-province – the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. He said: “We thank God that out of the suffering Church in South Sudan, God has raised Bishop Anthony to this highest position.

“He is coming at a time that the Anglican Communion is facing many challenges. But as Mordecai said to Esther; We trust God that ‘may be it is for such a time like this that God brought up’ (Esther 4:14).

“We encourage him to always be guided by the scriptures as we support him in prayers.”

The present Secretary General, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, from the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), said: “I give glory to the Lord for the appointment of Bishop Anthony Poggo as Secretary General of Anglican Communion. He is endowed with many gifts and it is my prayer that he would bring it all to his ministry within and beyond the Anglican Communion.

“I look forward to our working briefly together before handing over to him after the Lambeth Conference. May the Lord equip Bishop Anthony for a fruitful ministry as the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.”

The Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), Archbishop Paul Kwong from the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, said: “I warmly welcome Bishop Anthony Poggo as Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. He will bring to the Communion many gifts in particular to the Anglican Consultative Council.

“His vision of the Communion and her mission, not to mention the incredible breath of experience, will be an invaluable asset to the Communion. I look forward to serving with him at ACC and other instruments of Unity in the Communion.”

The Vice-Chair of the ACC, Canon Maggie Swinson from the Church of England, said: “I am delighted that Bishop Anthony will be taking up the role of Secretary General. He brings a wealth of experience from his previous role and I very much look forward to working with him.”

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