Press Statement: New CTE Presidents sign the Presidents’ Covenant as they take up office

Churches Together in England’s incoming Orthodox and Pentecostal & Charismatic Presidents today signed the Presidents’ Covenant as they started their new roles.

Archbishop Nikitas of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Diocese of Thyateira and Great Britain) and Bishop Tedroy Powell, leader of the pentecostal Church of God of Prophecy, met with their fellow CTE Presidents at Lambeth Palace.

Archbishop Nikitas replaces Archbishop Angaelos (Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London). Archbishop Angaelos represents the Oriental Orthodox tradition and, following custom, his successor comes from the Eastern Orthodox group of churches.

Bishop Tedroy Powell was elected by members of CTE’s Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum to take over from Pastor Agu Irukwu of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, who is lead pastor of Jesus House in Brent.

CTE is represented by six Presidents from the major traditions of our 51 National Member Churches. They meet regularly to discuss matters concerning the churches in England, and together seek to serve as a sign of our unity. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and Rev Dr Hugh Osgood the Moderator of the Free Churches Group also hold this role. The Fourth Presidency is currently not enacted. This follows a request by CTE’s Enabling Group in November 2019, reflecting the lack of agreement within the churches in England regarding aspects of theological and moral discernment.

Presidents of CTE expressed their deep gratitude for the service of Archbishop Angaelos and Pastor Agu during this extraordinary period in the life of the Presidency and of CTE more widely. Wider ecumenical engagement in Thy Kingdom Come, wisdom about responses to the Covid pandemic, and especially their leadership in response to the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter movement, were all priorities ‘on their watch.’

Prayers were offered for their successors Archbishop Nikitas and Bishop Tedroy.

Bishop Tedroy Powell said of his new role at CTE, “It is an honour, great privilege and a truly humbling experience to be selected to serve as one of the six presidents of Churches Together in England.

“It is my aspiration and prayer that I can contribute the gifts, leadership experience and collaborative graces that God has bestowed upon me to fruition, in this sphere, as we serve the ecclesia of God, and our country in these uncertain times and seasons. Although uncertainty abounds, locally, nationally and globally, we the ecclesia of God have great opportunities to become even more transformational, building strategic constructs under the canopy of God’s grace, as salt and light, bringing hope and reconciliation to our troubled seas of humanity.”

Archbishop Nikitas said of his new role at CTE, “I am delighted to inaugurate my presidential tenure of Churches Together in England. Throughout my clerical ministry, ecumenical engagement and inter-Christian cooperation were always a personal priority and a major part of my diakonia. Now more than ever before, our world is in need of faith in action, and only through our own example will society experience the power of the message of salvation. Our world desires a “culture of solidarity” among all people, and most especially, among Christian sisters and brothers.

“Representing our Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the entire Orthodox Family and the Eastern Churches, I am ready to engage on every level with the boldness of Christian love and truth to sustain, strengthen and increase our collaboration, cooperation, and Christian solidarity in England.”

Followed by Communion, this was a meeting where consideration was also given to the place of the Fourth Presidency Group within the Presidency, and how best to enable the contribution of the churches in that Group to be offered in the wider Presidency, in the absence of their appointed President.