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Anglican Communion Provincial Secretaries strengthen relationships among provinces

August 17, 2011
The Public Affairs Office

The Governance of The Episcopal Church: This information is another in an ongoing series discussing the governance of The Episcopal Church. Also, Episcopal Church lingo and terms are used; check the websites listed at the end for any necessary explanations.

When the Provincial Secretaries of the Anglican Communion gather in Mexico City in August for their periodic meeting, there will be two representatives from the Episcopal Church. That’s because the Episcopal Church has no one person designated to perform all the duties of a provincial secretary, as in many other Anglican Communion provinces. Rather, the duties of the provincial secretary are addressed by two people, divided along lines of responsibilities â€" one for governance and the other for mission.

What is a provincial secretary?
There are 38 provinces in the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is one. Others include the Anglican Church in Canada, the Church of England, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Episcopal/Anglican church of Japan).

The Provincial Secretary represents and is from that particular province, an administrator who connects with other provinces and develops and nurtures the relationship of his/her province within the Anglican Communion.

Not all Provinces have provincial secretaries and in some, like The Episcopal Church, the duties are shared.

How do Provincial Secretaries connect us to the Anglican Communion?
The Provincial Secretaries connect with each other on mutual interests and initiatives related to the Anglican Communion. As a group they meet to share experiences and explore ways of working together.

The next meeting, called the Seventh Provincial Secretaries Conference, is August 25 to September 1 in Mexico City (Province of the Anglican Church of Mexico). Expected discussions include the Anglican Covenant, communications, and other Communion administrative topics.

The last Provincial Secretaries meeting was held 2007 in Hong Kong.

Who performs the duties of the Provincial Secretary for the Episcopal Church?
The duties of the Provincial Secretary for the Episcopal Church are addressed by the Rev. Canon Dr. Gregory Straub, Secretary of General Convention, and Peter Ng, Episcopal Church Officer for Asia and the Pacific.

Why two people?
The Episcopal Church does not have one person designated as the Provincial Secretary. The duties of the Provincial Secretary are expansive, and as such, encompass the roles of two people.

In fulfilling the governance role, Straub explained, “The Secretary of General Convention is a canonical position for The Episcopal Church. And all provincial secretaries are the secretary of their governing body.”

As such, his role in the Episcopal Church matches the provincial secretaries’ governance duties: coordinate General Convention (in some provinces called synod); maintain minutes from those meetings; keep the official records; publish the information of the governing body of the church. “The governing body of The Episcopal Church is General Convention, and Executive Council is the board of directors,” Straub said. “All provincial secretaries have that in common.”

As Ng fulfills the program role of the provincial secretary duties, he will: serve as a point person for the Episcopal Church in matters that arise in the Anglican Communion; identify mission and ministry partnership projects and programs; maintain contact and monitor communications; and build relationships between Episcopal Church leadership and other provinces.

“This is an exciting time for The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion,” Ng said, “and it is important for all that our relationships are strengthened and that they grow.”

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Church of Mexico/La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico:

The Episcopal Church:

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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer