LONDON - On July 8, the Archbishop of Canterbury will admit Church Army’s Anne Williams into the office of evangelist in Sheffield Cathedral. Williams will then go on to become the first female evangelist in the 122 years of the Church Army’s existence to chair a session of the General Synod which will be taking place in York July 9-13.
In an email from Church Army, Ms. Williams said, "Some folk have very strange ideas about what I stand for. I believe passionately in the ministry of women within the church; we have a tremendous role to play across the church in mission and evangelism. However, so often we do not recognize the gifts God has given us or if we do recognize them we are not encouraged to use them to their fullest potential. During my College training I have been sustained and encouraged by the mutual respect shown by fellow Christians of differing views. Women’s ordination has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and I hope that whilst respecting each other's views we can now get on with doing those things we can do together and put all our focus and efforts on God's Mission of Love for His church.”
In an email from the Bishop of Jarrow, which comments on the appointment of Ms. Williams to chair the General Synod, he said, “I am delighted that Anne has been afforded this honor. She has served the diocese and the national Church well for a number of years. I look forward to licensing her in July to her new role as Community Missioner on the Ford estate in Sunderland and Mission Enabler working with catholic parishes across the diocese. This is an exciting new post, which will fully engage Anne’s many gifts and infectious enthusiasm. In addition to this, Church Army Stephen Parkinson, Director of Forward in Faith says in another email “Over the past few years as Vice-Chairman of Forward in Faith, Anne has demonstrated an admirable ability at chairing sessions of our annual conference and I am only surprised it has taken General Synod this long to discover her talent!”
In the same email from Church army, Ms. Williams added, "I have been a representative of Durham Diocese on General Synod since 1990 and feel very honored to have been invited to serve in this way. Although I love the cut and thrust of the debates, members can be assured that I will do my best to ensure we keep to the timetable and get smoothly through all the business we need to.”