Farewell and welcome: Commissioning of new Anglican Alliance Facilitator for East Asia

15 May 2023

Ms Annam Arumanayagam and Dr Gay Manodon, outgoing and incoming East Asia Facilitators

The Anglican Alliance is delighted to announce the appointment of its new East Asia Facilitator, Dr Gay Manodon. Dr Gay was commissioned today by the Chair of the Council of Church in East Asia, Prime Bishop Brent Alawas. The service at the Episcopal Cathedral of St Mary and St John in Manila was also a time for giving thanks and praying for the outgoing Regional Facilitator, Ms Annam Arumanayagam.

At the Commissioning service, Presiding Bishop Brent of the Episcopal  Church in the Philippines (ECP) said: “We look forward to working with Gay and wish her well in her new ministry in the region.”

Bishop Brent is one of the original founders of the Anglican Alliance following the 2008 Lambeth conference and has been a supportive adviser since its launch. Bishop Rex Reyes, Episcopal Diocese of the Central Philippines, and Atty. Floyd Lalwet, ECP Provincial Secretary, also joined the service, as well as Obispo Máximo Joel O. Porlares of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI).

Canon Rachel Carnegie, Anglican Alliance Executive Director, was present at the commissioning service. “We are delighted with the appointment of Dr Gay Manodon,” Rachel said. “We also give huge thanks to Annam, who has been a superb regional facilitator over the past seven years. Annam and I have valued getting to know Gay during this handover visit. She will bring great gifts to this role.”

Prime Bishop Brent, Annam and Gay at the thanksgiving and commissioning service.

Dr Gay was selected after a region-wide recruitment process over recent months. Her appointment has been confirmed by the leadership of the Council of Church in East Asia (CCEA), the regional forum of Anglican provinces. Gay originally qualified as a doctor in dental medicine and she also has a Masters in Divinity from Saint Andrew’s Theological Seminary in Manila. She is due to be ordained deacon later in 2023. Within the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Gay serves as Chairperson of the Commission on Evangelism and Ecumenical Relations. She also has strong ecumenical experience and is currently President of the Ecumenical Church Women United of the Philippines and Vice-President of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines. She brings this wide range of experiences to her new role at the Anglican Alliance.

On being commissioned as the new Anglican Alliance East Asia Facilitator, Gay commented: “I look forward to working with people in the Anglican Alliance. I am so glad that I have this opportunity to communicate and find new relationships with other members of the Anglican Alliance in the region and globally.” Hear more from Gay and Annam below.

Gay will be based at E-Care – The Episcopal Community Action for Renewal and Empowerment. This is one of the programmatic expressions of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines’ Five Marks of Mission and is a long-standing and much valued participant in the Anglican Alliance. E-Care brings significant expertise and offers key learning in the Anglican Alliance family across the Communion. Its dynamic models through an asset-based approach and its commitment to creating self-reliance and sustainability help to alleviate poverty without creating dependence. Provincial Secretary of The Episcopal Church of the Philippines and E-Care Director, Atty. Floyd P. Lalwet commented on Gay’s appointment: “E-Care fully supports Gay and looks forward to working with her.”

As we welcome Gay, it is also a time for the Anglican Alliance to give heartfelt thanks to our outgoing regional facilitator. Annam is a greatly valued and much beloved colleague in the Anglican Alliance team and throughout the region. She also shares many qualities with Gay, having come to the Alliance with impressive leadership and ecumenical experience. She is chairperson of Anglican Care in the Diocese of West Malaysia and formerly served as President of the Asian Church Women’s Conference. Having known about Annam for many years, Gay was delighted to meet her in person. “God is great in having given me this opportunity finally to meet Annam face to face in the Anglican Alliance,” Gay said.

In her time at the Alliance, Annam has devoted herself to nurturing relationships and building communities of learning and friendship throughout East Asia. Some highlights of her time in office have included leading a regional study tour to the Philippines to learn about their approach to Asset-Based Church/Community Development (ABCD). Annam also organised a significant consultation on this theme, gathering regional representatives in Myanmar in 2019. In addition, she convened a ground-breaking regional workshop on the topic of safe migration and tackling human trafficking, meeting in Cambodia together with The Salvation Army. Throughout the pandemic, Annam brought light and hope to people throughout the region, keeping in touch and sustaining the regional forum and two communities of practice which met frequently throughout that time. Her commitment to individuals in the region is illustrated by a call she held during the pandemic with a young Anglican in Myanmar, encouraging him while he drove around the city searching for medicines.

Annam leaves a wonderful legacy in the Anglican Alliance’s networks in the region and she will continue to be treasured and remain involved as an Anglican Alliance Elder. As Annam concludes her tenure as regional facilitator, she reflected: “The last seven years have been really fantastic years for me and I have been really blessed and privileged to serve with the Anglican Alliance. It has been the people: the people in the worldwide team in the Communion and especially the people in our region – to listen to their stories, to hear them and to share their stories as well.”

After the service, Prime Bishop Brent led prayers for the planting of five trees in the Cathedral compound, including a mango tree for the Anglican Alliance. This is two trees grafted together. “This will be a special tree,” Bishop Brent explained. “Two seedlings joined to make one tree to symbolise the Alliance.” These trees form part of the Communion Forest. ECP and IFI are committed to working together to make the Communion Forest a reality, alive and growing in the Philippines.

Prime Bishop Brent and Revd Daniel Woods at the blessing of newly planted trees.

Please join us in praying for Annam, giving thanks for her contribution to the ministry of the Anglican Alliance, and in praying for Gay, as she takes up the role of East Asia facilitator.

And as we think of the East Asia region, please also hold in your prayers current events, as the coastal people in Myanmar and Bangladesh face the impact of climate change. The powerful Cyclone Mocha has brought intense rain and winds that have caused destruction and flooding.

The newly planted Anglican Alliance mango tree. From left: Annam, Bishop Rex, Rachel, Obispo Maximo Joel and Gay.