By Mark Michael
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells will serve as the Anglican Communion’s first Bishop for Episcopal Ministry, overseeing the implementation of the Lambeth Calls and aiming to “foster a collaborative, engaged, enriched fellowship among the bishops of the Anglican Communion,” said Secretary General Anthony Poggo. She was elected to the post by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion during its meeting in London last week, and will take up the role in January.
Wells, 57, serves as Bishop of Dorking, a suffragan see in the Church of England’s Diocese of Guildford. She was previously chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke University, and a lecturer in Old Testament at Cambridge.
Last summer’s Lambeth Conference was envisioned as a gathering in three phases — small online discussion groups that met for about nine months beforehand, the ten-day in-person conference in Canterbury, and a series of guided discussions among bishops about receiving and implementing the 10 Lambeth Calls at the local level.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to write soon to bishops across the Communion about this third stage of “the Lambeth Journey,” and overseeing it during the next several years will be an important part of Bishop Wells’s work.
Welby said that the Lambeth Conference has been “remarkable in renewing friendships, relationships, and connections” across the Communion, and the new position hoped to build on that momentum for unity. Poggo, who will work closely with Wells, said he hoped her work would inspire “even greater companionship, learning, and exchange between provinces.”
“Having first encountered the diversity and dynamism of the Anglican Communion as my vocation emerged in the Church of Uganda in the 1980s,” Wells said, “I am full of joy to be working with Secretary General Bishop Anthony, having first met one another in South Sudan many years ago. I greatly look forward to journeying with bishop colleagues across the Communion as we work out how we witness together through the Calls, enhancing the friendships and fellowship forged at the recent Lambeth Conference.”
Bishop Wells is a member of the Living Church Foundation.