A lay canon from Liverpool in England, Canon Maggie Swinson, has been acclaimed as the new Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), one of four “Instruments of Communion” or “Instruments of Unity” of the global Anglican Communion of 42 independent-yet-interdependent nationals, and regional Churches. The Council meets in plenary every three-or-so years and is currently gathered in Accra, Ghana, for its 18th plenary meeting.
As chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Maggie Swinson will also chair the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. This comprises the Archbishop of Canterbury, as president, five primates elected to represent the regions of the Anglican Communion., a vice chair, and seven members elected by members of the Council.
Maggie Swinson is a lay canon of England’s Liverpool Cathedral, a charted accountant and company secretary in private practice. She has served as vice-chair of the ACC since her election in Lusaka, Zambia, at the 16th meeting of the council (ACC-16) in 2016.
In that time, Maggie has chaired the Inter Anglican Finance and Administration Committee, led the group which implemented the Anglican Communion Office structure review, chaired the panel for the appointment of Bishop Anthony Poggo as the new Secretary General and attended the Lambeth Conference as an observer.
“I believe the key challenges for the ACC are in taking forward the mission of the Communion to serve the Kingdom”, she said. “Developing a governance structure which better reflect the instruments whilst maintaining the key voices of laity and non-episcopal clergy. Developing a financial model which reduces reliance on member contributions and increases sustainability and enabling all Provinces to continue to find a place within the Communion in spite of their differences.”
Commenting on Canon Swinson’s unopposed election as the new Chair of the ACC, Archbishop Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I have worked with Canon Maggie for many years and she has faithfully served the Church – both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion in many ways. I am delighted that her gifts will continue to be shared with the Communion as the new Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee.”
Senior Anglican Leaders congratulate Maggie Swinson on her unopposed election as Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council. Top: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby; Anglican Communion Secretary General Bishop Anthony Poggo; Bottom: outgoing-Chair, Archbishop Paul Kwong; and Canon Maggie Swinson addressing the 18th plenary meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-18).
Photo: Neil Turner / Anglican Communion
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, said: “I am delighted that Canon Maggie Swinson has been elected, unopposed, by the ACC as Chair. This is in recognition of and a vote of thanks for her work in her previous role as Vice-Chair of the ACC, a role she has been in since her election in Zambia in 2016.
“In her role as Vice Chair of the ACC and Chair of the Inter-Anglican Finance and Administration Committee (IAFAC), she has worked superbly and has been an asset to each of the Committees. As Secretary General, I look forward to working with her as she takes on this new role as Chair.
“I know she will continue to guide the Standing Committee and the ACC as we journey together into the next phase and season. We assure her of our prayers as she takes this on role.”
News of her election has been welcomed in her home diocese of Liverpool, England. The Bishop of Warrington, Beverley Mason, said: “I am so delighted to hear of this appointment. Maggie brings years of experience of serving the Church of England nationally and locally as provides a vital lay perspective.
“She brings immense experience, wisdom and insight to the Anglican Communion, and is so well-placed to take on this extra responsibility. In these challenging days, Maggie will play a vital role in listening to and ensuring voices are heard across the communion.
“In Liverpool, we are very proud and give the assurance of our prayers for Maggie and the work of the ACC.”
Canon Swinson assumes the chair at the end of the ACC-18 meeting and serves for the next two meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council. She succeeds Archbishop Paul Kwong, the former Archbishop of Hong Kong, whose term of office has come to an end. Elections for vice chair and five other members of the Standing Committee will take place later this week.