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Archbishop Announces New Anglican Communion Secretary General

Tuesday 20th July 2004

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in his capacity as President of the Anglican Consultative Council has announced the appointment of the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion to succeed Canon John L. Peterson who steps down in December 2004.

Dr Williams said he was delighted with the appointment: "Canon Kearon will bring to this post a superb knowledge of the worldwide church and invaluable experience, especially in the field of church and community relationships and in mediation and conflict resolution. He comes at a time when the challenges facing our Communion are enormous and the opportunities for mission great. I look forward to working closely with him in the service of Christ."

Canon Kearon said he was honoured to have been invited to take up this role in the Anglican Communion. "I look forward to getting to know the member churches, and through the work of the Anglican Communion Office, to serve the unity and mission of our worldwide Communion."

Canon Peterson said, "I welcome the news that Canon Kearon has been appointed to be my successor as Secretary General. I am looking forward to working with him in this period of transition. Might he and Jennifer be as blessed as Kirsten and I have been while I have had the great privilege to serve the Anglican Communion as its Secretary General these last ten years."

Canon Kearon, who is 50, will take up his duties in January 2005.


Canon Kenneth Arthur Kearon was born in Dublin in 1953. After education at Mountjoy School he attended Trinity College in Dublin where he studied Mental and Moral Science for a degree in Philosophy. After further study in Cambridge and Dublin, he was ordained deacon in 1981 and priest in 1982. He served a curacy in the parish of All Saints Raheny and St John's Coolock in the diocese of Dublin & Glendalough and then was appointed Dean of Residence at Trinity College. In 1991 he became Rector of the parish of Tullow (Dublin) before becoming Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics in 1999. He has also, since 1995, been a member of the Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and has served as its Chancellor since 2002. Kenneth is a member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, Co-ordinator of Auxilliary Ministry (NSM) Training in the church, and a member of the Irish Council for Bioethics.

He is author of Medical ethics: an Introduction (Columba 1995) and has contributed to a number of volumes on Education, Family and Medical Ethics.

Kenneth is married to Jennifer, and they have three daughters.

The role of Secretary General

1. The Secretary General and the staff of the Anglican Communion Office exist to serve the various inter-Anglican bodies, and in particular the four 'Instruments of Unity' of the Anglican Communion – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates' Meeting and the Lambeth Conference.

2. The position of Secretary General has two major components: an administrative responsibility as the manager of a secretariat, and an ambassadorial function.

3. The responsibilities of the role consist of:

a) providing leadership to the professional and international staff of the secretariat; ensuring that adequate support, direction and supervision is in place for all staff members, and seeing to the effective management of personnel and resources;

b) providing secretarial and administrative services and guidance for many activities in which Anglicans and ecumenical guests share from all parts of the world;

c) preparing for and administering the meetings of the various inter-Anglican bodies described above – and seeing to the implementation of their decisions;

d) facilitating, co-ordinating and encouraging other important inter-Anglican activities and events;

e) giving general guidance to the Ecumenical Dialogues, the work on Mission and Evangelism, various initiatives in Theological and Doctrinal study, and the many Networks of the Anglican Communion; and,

f) working with others in – but not being responsible for – the management of the Inter-Anglican budget. Principal tasks associated with fund-raising will be managed separately, but the Secretary General will be required from time to time to play a visible role in collective efforts to raise funds.

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