The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced the appointment of Sarah Snyder as his new advisor for reconciliation. She takes over from Canon David Porter who moved into his new role as chief of staff and strategy to the Archbishop at the beginning of May.
Sarah will take up the role in September. She will be part of the senior team at Lambeth Palace while also being based at Coventry Cathedral, where Archbishop Justin’s reconciliation ministry has been established since its inception. Her role will have a particular emphasis on supporting the Church in contexts of violent conflict or post-conflict and helping the Church to be an agent of reconciliation and conflict-transformation.
A theologian who specialises in Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, Sarah brings wide-ranging international experience of peace-building and dialogue. She has worked for many years to promote faith-based reconciliation, most recently as director of partnerships with Religions for Peace International, an organisation affiliated to the United Nations. Sarah has also directed the Cambridge International Summer Schools for faith leaders from conflict zones. A trained mediator, she has experience both of working with communities and with senior religious leaders.
Sarah is founding director of the Rose Castle Foundation, an international centre of reconciliation, based in the north of England, offering safe space in which to address misunderstanding of the “other”, particularly those of different religious traditions. Located in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, it is a peaceful haven in which to transform conflict within and between faith communities, and to train up a generation of leaders equipped as faith-based mediators. It is chaired by the Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, and Professor David Ford, and welcomes people of all faith traditions and none.
Sarah also collaborates with St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in the City of London, supporting individuals and communities to work together despite their differences and divisions. St Ethelburga’s is situated in a church destroyed by a bomb in 1993, and is itself a powerful symbol of hope in the midst of conflict.
Speaking about the appointment, Archbishop Justin said: “I am delighted that Sarah Snyder will be my advisor for reconciliation. Sarah brings a wealth of experience and many gifts to the role which will enrich both her reconciliation work and the senior team at Lambeth Palace. I am also grateful for the continued partnership with Coventry Cathedral where my reconciliation ministry will continue to be based. Events in recent weeks remind us that that reconciliation is more of a priority than ever – this is the hope we offer in the good news of Jesus.”
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