Anthony Poggo named Anglican Communion secretary general

Anthony Poggo, a South Sudanese bishop who was forced with his family into exile before he was a year old, has been named as the next secretary general of the Anglican Communion. Poggo, the former bishop of Kajo Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, is currently the archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser on Anglican Communion affairs.

He will take up his new role in September, succeeding Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who is stepping down this summer.

International disability advocate Sarah Newland Martin dies at 75

Sarah Newland Martin, an internationally recognized disability advocate and leader in the Jamai­ca Baptist Union, died June 8 following complications related to surgery. She was 75.

A member of Bethel Baptist Church in Kingston, Newland Martin was the longest-serving head of the Young Men’s Christian Association—a position she held from 1988 until her death. She was active in the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network and also served as chair of the Jamaica Baptist Union’s ministry to persons with disabilities committee.

South African scholar Jerry Pillay elected WCC general secretary

On June 17, South African scholar Jerry Pillay was elected general secretary of the World Council of Churches during the central committee’s first in-person meeting since 2018.

Pillay, who was one of two candidates standing for election, will replace Ioan Sauca, who has served as acting general secretary since April 2020.

Agnes Abuom, moderator of the central committee, congratulated Pillay on his election.

Mildred “Bonnie” Hines, first woman AME Zion bishop, dies at 67

Bishop Mildred “Bonnie” Hines, the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, has died at age 67.

“We are sad because we will miss her powerful preaching, her electrifying teaching, her dynamic leadership, and her loving spirit,” said the board of bishops in a statement. “We are glad because she is free from her infirmities and is in the presence of her Lord, whom she served so faithfully.”

Hines, the 98th bishop of the AME Zion Church, died May 23. She was the sole female bishop of the historically Black denomination, which dates to 1796.

Ecumenical leader Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima dies

Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey, a noted scholar, and a popular ecumenist, died June 1.

In a statement, Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, praised Gennadios’s dedication to the ecumenical movement.

“He led a principled life devoted to [promoting] ecumenism, unity, and ecumenical leadership development,” she said. “When we needed him, he was there, ready to serve the ecumenical movement.”

Brett Opalinski to lead Methodist studies at Candler School of Theology

Brett Opalinski has been selected as the next dean of Methodist studies at the Candler School of Theology. He will also serve as an assistant professor in the practice of spiritual formation and church leadership.

He succeeds Anne Burkholder, who is retiring after 14 years of leading the school’s Methodist studies program.