Local & National news

ABM Executive Director honoured by the Archbishop of Canterbury

By the Rev’d Andrew Sempell, Chair of the ABM and AID Boards

Lambeth Palace is pleased to announce the awarding of the Cross of St Augustine to the Rev’d Dr John Deane, the CEO of the Anglican Board of Mission and Anglicans in Development by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev’d and Rt Hon Justin Welby.

The citation reads:

The Reverend Dr John Deane – the Cross of St Augustine for Services to the Anglican Communion. 

For his outstanding leadership in the Communion in the area of holistic mission, including leading the Anglican Board of Mission, Church of Australia, for over 20 years and playing a leading catalytic role in the formation of the Anglican Alliance. 

The Reverend Dr John Deane, pictured above with the Archbishop of Canterbury, has played an outstanding role in building the capacity and effectiveness of the Anglican Communion in holistic mission, including in humanitarian relief and sustainable development.

As a leading thinker, John has shaped the vision of the Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) into a significant agency serving the global Church with partnerships throughout the Anglican Communion, and especially in Asia and the Pacific. The long-standing relationships of trust which John has established across many provinces have proved valuable, especially in fragile contexts such as Myanmar.

He has led in shaping the vision and quality of ABM’s work which has provided a foundation for collaborative programming, joint advocacy, and technical excellence in a range of development sectors. In particular, ABM’s work on gender justice, disaster relief and asset-based community development (ABCD) has brought recognition from the Australian government and other secular agencies, not just for ABM, but for the provinces with which they partner.

ABM Executive Director John Deane with the Archbishop of Canterbury

John has also been a driving force in the establishment of the Anglican Alliance, having envisaged the need for such a platform to connect and equip the Anglican family of churches and agencies. He worked intensively with others to build relationships and commitment on which to establish the Anglican Alliance and has continued to steer its development as a Trustee for six years and now as Chair of the Circle of Elders. John is guided by his faith and belief in the potential of the Church as a vehicle for God’s mission in the world. In late 2022 he also completed the 500-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. 

The Most Rev’d Geoffrey Smith, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop of Adelaide and former National Director of ABM says of the awarding: “I join with many others in congratulating John on the award of the Cross of St Augustine. In his more than 25 years working with ABM John has demonstrated a consistent commitment to the mission of God.”

The Rev’d Canon Victor Joseph, Principal of Wontulp-Bi-Buya College and ABM Board Member, writes: “I make my opening comments with this verse: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you” (2 Timothy 1.6). John’s gifts in decision making, leadership, empathy and desire to expand the kingdom of God through the Anglican Board of Mission, Church of Australia is a living testimony for the Church. Now the recipient of the Cross of St Augustine, I extend my deepest appreciation to John for his work.

“His ability to communicate and willingness to work with the Australian Indigenous people of the Church is also to be noted in helping break down the barriers.

“Thank you, John, and may this award of the cross be an example for others to continue to walk with you on this journey.”

The Most Rev’d Brent Alawas, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, one of ABM’s Overseas Partners, writes “The Rev’d Dr John Deane is truly deserving of the Cross of St. Augustine in recognition of his services to the Anglican Communion. My personal relations with John go back 25 years to when he led the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia in its foundational partnership with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

“That personal and institutional relationship grew over the years, shaped by the foundations we have established which drew from, among others, John’s insightful reflections and programmatic directions towards establishing the Kingdom of God. We had long hours of exchanges following community and congregational engagements and we will always treasure John’s views from the outside which affirmed local stories and experiences and contributed towards achievement of our peoples’ aspirations. We have blazed new paths of community and congregational development, resulting from our shared experiences and insights. We now join our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion in giving praiseworthy acknowledgment of John’s invaluable contributions to the mission of God’s Church in the world today. “

The Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy, the Rev’d Canon Rachel Carnegie, writes:

“I am delighted that John’s life-long ministry and contribution to the Anglican Communion has been recognised in this award of the Cross of St Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We rejoice especially at the Anglican Alliance, as John was a founding trustee and continues to provide visionary leadership, promoting the holistic mission of the Communion. He combines deep faith and theological insights with practical commitment to serve the most vulnerable in our world. I congratulate John warmly for this richly deserved award.”

The Cross of St Augustine, named after the Benedictine monk who led the evangelisation of England, is an award of merit given at the discretion of the Archbishop of Canterbury, his successor. It is awarded to members of the Anglican Communion who have made significant contributions either to the life of the global Communion, or to a particular autonomous church within it. The Cross can also be awarded to Christians of other traditions who have made a conspicuous contribution to ecumenism. Created in 1965 by Archbishop Michael Ramsey, it is the second highest international award for service within Anglicanism.