By TLC staff
Christopher Wells, who has been executive director of the Living Church Foundation since 2009, has been named the Anglican Communion’s Director of Unity, Faith, and Order, the Anglican Communion Office announced August 7.
In his new role, Wells “will lead and support the work of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith, and Order (IASCUFO) — the international body that advises provinces, the Secretary General, and the Instruments of Communion on ecumenical relations and doctrine. He will also serve as the lead staff member for Anglican Communion delegations to official international ecumenical dialogues,” the announcement said. The announcement came on the final day of the Lambeth Conference.
“This is an exciting development for Christopher and for the Anglican Communion,” said the Rt. Rev. Dr. John C. Bauerschmidt, president of the foundation’s board of directors. “He brings many gifts to bear on his new responsibilities, not the least of which are his longstanding concern for ecclesiology, ecumenism, and the Anglican Communion itself. Christopher has a deep knowledge and expertise in these subjects, and I am not surprised that the Communion has discerned a need for his gifts. We wish him well in this transition, which will unfold in the weeks to come.”
Bauerschmidt added that Wells “will be much missed in his present role by his colleagues and friends in the wider community of The Living Church. Under his leadership, our community has increased its reach and influence, especially in raising up a community of pastors, theologians, and writers through the Covenant blog; and also in increasing the magazine’s coverage of Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church news. Our sponsorship of conferences and educational events through the Living Church Institute has raised theological engagement in the Episcopal Church and in the Communion as a whole. The Living Church Foundation is on a solid course to continue and increase its flourishing ministry.”
Wells will serve on the staff of the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, currently the Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon. Idowu-Fearon steps down at the end of August and will be succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo.
Commenting on his appointment, Wells said: “It is an honor to be called to this important work, which will of course be undertaken as a team, and I very much look forward to working with and supporting Bishop Anthony, IASCUFO, the Anglican Consultative Council, and colleagues at Lambeth Palace, as well our ecumenical partners and friends.
“The call to truth and unity in God’s Church, as Archbishop Justin has emphasized, is holy work, since it follows from God’s own gift and also leaves more for us to do. Anglicans have long said that we are called to full visible unity, both with one another and all Christians and churches. We are not entirely of one mind as Anglicans, and we need to work to deepen our communion, while duly marking places of disagreement and impairment. I pray that God will give us all patience and generosity, and love, as an Anglican family, to recommit to walking together to the highest degree and greatest extent that we can.”
“Dr. Christopher Wells has substantial experience within and throughout the Communion and significant knowledge of Anglicanism and in working to bring people together despite theological differences,” Poggo said. “I look forward to working with him as we both embark together on the next chapters of our ministry in the Anglican Communion.”
“We join with all those who wish Christopher well in his new ministry,” Bauerschmidt said. “In the midst of this transition, I am grateful for the Rev. Mark Michael in his continuing role as editor of the magazine, and to our other staff members. The board of the foundation looks forward to charting a course into the future and asks for your continued prayers.”
In addition to his work with the Living Church Foundation, Wells has served on the Communion Across Difference Task Force for the Episcopal Church, is theological consultant to the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S., and has been a member of the steering team of Communion Partners since 2017. He is affiliate professor of historical theology at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, and regularly teaches on Thomas Aquinas and ecclesiology, including “Christian Unity in Rome: Anglican Ecclesiology and Ecumenism,” a course at the Anglican Centre in Rome,
The foundation publishes The Living Church magazine, which has been in continuous publication since 1878; The Episcopal Musician’s Handbook; and a variety of other print and online resources.