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New Ecumenical Canons

7 months, 4 weeks ago

The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, has appointed six new Ecumenical Canons to Southwark Cathedral. They are: 

His Grace Bishop Angaelos OBE, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
The Revd Steve Chalke MBE, Founder and Leader, Oasis Global
The Revd Anthony Currer, Official for Relations with Anglicans and Methodists in Rome
The Rt Revd Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic, Archdiocese of Southwark
The Revd Les Isaac OBE, CEO at Ascension Trustand Co-Founder Street Pastors
The Rt Revd Apostle Dr Donnett Thomas, Senior Pastor of Power of the Living Word Ministries International 

Bishop Angaelos was instituted and installed at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 2016 and the other new Ecumenical Canons were instituted and installed at Southwark Cathedral at Choral evensong at 3pm on Sunday 19 February 2017. They join the Rt Revd Halvor Nordhaug, Bishop of Bergen who was instituted and installed in September 2015.

Commenting on the appointment Bishop Christopher says: ‘I am delighted that these very distinguished church leaders from other denominations have felt able to accept my offer to become Ecumenical Canons of Southwark Cathedral.  We are privileged to welcome them to the heart of the Diocese of Southwark and we are proud to be associated with their important ministries.

The Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark says: ‘I am so pleased that our new Statutes allow for the appointment of Ecumenical Canons to share in our life.  They will bring with them a breadth of knowledge and experience which will be very valuable to the Cathedral and I hope that they will each see their appointment as a sign of the willingness of the Cathedral community to stand beside their communities in all they do.’ 

Bishop Angaelos

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, is General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and is widely recognised for his extensive ecumenical and advocacy work. As a result he was conferred with the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism, the highest honour to be bestowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1939, and the Coventry Cross of Nails for Reconciliation. He was also awarded an OBE in 2015 for ‘Services to International Religious Freedom’. With a pastoral ministry spanning two decades, His Grace also specialises in youth ministry and travels extensively around the world to speak at youth conferences and conventions. He was consecrated a General Bishop in 1999 by His Holiness, the late Pope Shenouda III, with whom he served as private secretary. He has been ecumenically active at local, national and international levels, while also actively working in the area of inter-religious relations. He is a member of all the official ecumenical instruments in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. He is founder and convener of the Asylum Advocacy Group which works closely in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief.

The Revd Steve Chalke

Steve Chalke is a Baptist minister, social entrepreneur, justice campaigner, businessman, author, speaker and broadcaster. He founded the Oasis Trust in 1985 he still leads it and it has now grown into a group of charities with more than 5,000 staff as well as many more thousands of volunteers. Oasis now pioneers educational, healthcare, housing and many other community initiatives in the UK. Its work stretches into ten other countries around the world.
He serves as the Senior Minister of Oasis Church, Waterloo, in central London, and as Chair of South Bank Churches – an ecumenical partnership of local churches.  
He is married to Cornelia. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.
He holds an MBE as well as an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University, both awarded for his work in social inclusion and justice.        

The Revd Anthony Currer

Fr Anthony Currer was born and brought up in Newcastle. His first degree is from University College, London and his Master is from Durham University. He studied for ordination at the English College in Rome and was ordained in Newcastle in 2002 and served his curacy in Washington, County Durham. In 2005 he was appointed parish priest in Durham were he also served as Catholic Chaplain to the University. In 2012 he moved to the parishes of Whitley Bay, but shortly after he was invited to take up an appointment at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity on the desk responsible for relations with the worldwide Anglican and Methodist Communions. In this role he is co-secretary to the two theological dialogues, ARCIC (the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission) and the Methodist Catholic dialogue.
He is a keen cyclist and a life-long cricket fan and club-cricketer.  He says that he has ‘had the unlikely opportunity to become the first captain of the St Peter’s Cricket Club (the Vatican Cricket team) which toured England in 2014 and 2016’.

Bishop Paul Hendricks

Bishop Paul grew up in Orpington, Kent and studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood at the English College, Rome.  He was ordained priest in 1984 serving in a parish in Tooting, as a lecturer at St John’s Seminary in Wonersh and then in a parish in Peckham before becoming Auxiliary Bishop for the South West Area of Southwark Archdiocese, from 2006.  He is a representative at Churches Together in England and a Trustee of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and a member of English ARC (Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue) since 2008. He is also Co-Chair of the Christian-Muslim Forum.
He lives in Sutton, with a re-homed black cat named Marmite and enjoys walking, reading novels, cinema and classical music.

The Revd Les Isaac

The Revd Les Isaac was born in Antigua and came to the United Kingdom as a young child, growing up in north London with his parents. He experienced gangs and street violence in his teens, becoming a Rastafarian in his search for hope. Then in his late teens Les became a Christian. This radical life changing experience inspired him to always seek ways to engage with the same hard-to-reach communities that he came from; he is committed to sharing not only the spiritual relevance of the gospel message but also the very practical message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He has been a minister for over 35 years and is currently a member of the Pastoral Team at the Church of God of Prophecy in Battersea, South London. He is Chief Executive Officer of Ascension Trust which he founded over 20 years ago.  He was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work as the Head of Ascension Trust. Les co-founded the Street Pastors Initiative in 2003 as a response to the growing concern for the problems of gun and knife crime, binge drinking, gang culture, loneliness, violence and anti-social behaviour on our high streets. There are now other national and international initiatives: School Pastors, College Pastors, Rail Pastors and Response Pastors. He is married to Louise and they have two children, both of whom are married.

Bishop Donnett Thomas

Bishop Donnett Thomas was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to England when she was very young. She was ordained in 1993 and served in the New Testament Assembly for 20 years. In 2001 she was released by the New Testament Assembly and founded WOW Ministries, which has since been renamed Power of the Living Word Ministries International. It has grown from strength to strength with Churches in Mombasa, Kitui, Kibwezi and Nairobi in Kenya and in Chennai, India.  The Headquarters are in Clapham Park. The Ministry is part of the Ixthus Church Council under Archbishop Dr A. Evangelou. She was consecrated Bishop in 2007 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity by Philadelphia Assemblies of Full Gospel Churches in June 2002.
Bishop Donnett has vast Ecumenical experience. She has just ended her time as Chair of Churches Together in South London, is a member of Faiths Forum for London, Faiths Together in Lambeth, Churches Together in Clapham, Churches Working Together in Clapham Park and is currently one of the Presidents of the Christian Muslim Forum.
She is married to Elder Colin Thomas and has two grown up children. 


Any person appointed as an Ecumenical Canon shall be a minister or lay person of good standing in a Church or denomination in communion with the Church of England or in a Church or denomination designated pursuant to the Church of England (Ecumenical Relations) Measure 1988 as being one to which that Measure applies which shall for this purpose include such persons within the Communion of Porvoo Churches.

Images from the service can be found on Flickr at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskPtQUAV