The Council of General Synod confirmed the appointment of Archdeacon Alan Perry as the next general secretary of General Synod during its virtual meeting July 25.
In a brief presentation to CoGS, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Linda Nicholls relayed the process by which Perry was selected for the position. First, a search committee of clergy and laity—appointed at a previous meeting of CoGS—reviewed and updated a job description, put out an advertisement for the position, and consulted with executive archdeacons and staff of the church’s national office for input on qualities that would be helpful in a general secretary. “Due to COVID-19, our initial hope had been to have in-person interviews with the committee, and that was unable to happen,” Nicholls noted. “So both the interviews and follow-up interviews were conducted by Zoom, references were contacted, and it involved about 16 Zoom calls of an hour and a half each.” The committee then made its recommendation to the primate, who interviewed the candidate.
Reached by phone, Perry told the Journal he was feeling “excited, terrified and really, really happy to have been appointed.
“It’s a huge task, and a big learning curve ahead, but I know there’s a good team of people there, so it’s really exciting.”
Perry currently serves as executive archdeacon in the diocese of Edmonton. He has been a member of General Synod’s Resolutions Committee, the Governance Working Group and the Handbook Committee. He has also served variously as a member, clerical secretary and prolocutor of the Provincial Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada. He was a member of CoGS from 2001 to 2004 and has been a member of the General Synod Pension Committee since 2007.
Perry has been in attendance at every General Synod since 1998 and describes himself as “a bit of a policy nerd and a canonical geek.” He says he is most looking forward to “being involved in the national expression of our church.”
Perry will begin his term as general secretary Sept. 1. The church’s national office is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, and staff is working remotely, making relocation complicated. Perry says he thought about working remotely from Edmonton but decided he would need to be physically in the office. “Relocating is definitely in the cards.” He hopes to move to Toronto in the near future, depending on when restrictions ease and his wife can find work in the city.
“I’ve often said that the General Synod is the Anglican Church of Canada at its best, and that doesn’t happen without a dedicated group of good people supporting and carrying out its work,” says Perry. “I’m looking forward to being surrounded by and working with the team at Church House.”
Perry succeeds Archdeacon Michael Thompson, who has served as general secretary since 2011. Thompson was originally set to retire June 30, but he has stayed on until August 31 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.