21 July 2017

Anglican mission agency USPG
appoints a new CEO

The Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean of Saint John’s College, Cambridge, is the new CEO of USPG

Patrick Comerford

The Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean of Saint John’s College, Cambridge, is to be the next CEO of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

Duncan Dormor succeeds Janette O’Neill, who is retiring after six years with USPG.

The appointment was agreed at a meeting of the trustees of USPG in High Leigh earlier this week and was announced this morning [21 July 2017].

Commenting on his appointment, Duncan Dormor said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be offered this opportunity to lead USPG as it works with partner Churches across the Anglican Communion in seeking to transform the lives of individuals and communities through the power of the Gospel.’

He continued: ‘Faithful to its history, radical in its proclamation, I have long admired the way in which USPG acts in solidarity to empower local churches across the globe in ways that respect their autonomy and culture.’

He said: 'Having spent many years in ministry with young people, I know first-hand of USPG’s thirst to engage with the pressing global challenges of injustice and poverty that scar our world and I would seek to harness such vision to deepen and renew the life of the church across the world through USPG.’

Canon Chris Chivers, Chair of the Trustees of USPG, added: ‘I am thrilled with this appointment. Duncan Dormor brings energy and passion, dynamic communication skills and a proven track-record in enabling organisational change to this important post.’

He said: ‘His deep faith in Jesus Christ, his significant international experience in relation to St John’s College and Cambridge University, his global vision, alertness to the perspective of younger generations, concern for justice and reconciliation, and inspiring work as writer and speaker, make him well-placed to lead the team who will shape the next phase for USPG in new and exciting ways.’

The Master of Saint John’s College, Cambridge, Professor Chris Dobson, said: ‘Duncan has been an absolutely outstanding Dean of Chapel at St John’s and has been a valued member of the college for almost 20 years. In that time, he has also made huge contributions to the pastoral, musical and academic life of the College. We shall miss him very much indeed, but I know that he relishes the prospect of using his energy, experience and passion for justice in this exciting new role.’

Duncan Dormor was an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read Human Sciences before studying for an MSc in Medical Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. For three years, he worked for Dr Jack Dominian as the Information Officer of the family research and outreach organisation One Plus One.

In 1992, he returned to Oxford to take a degree in theology while training for ordination at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He was ordained in Lichfield Cathedral in 1995 and served as a curate at Saint Peter’s Collegiate Church in Central Wolverhampton. He became Chaplain of Saint John’s in 1998 and was appointed Dean in 2002.

As Dean of the Chapel, he has had overall responsibility for the life of the chapel and its community, for the conduct of worship, the work of the choir and for the oversight of pastoral care within the College community.

Duncan is Director of Studies for Theology at Saint John’s College. He lectures in the Divinity Faculty and is the author of many publications.

He has co-edited (with Jeremy Morris) An Acceptable Sacrifice? Homosexuality and the Church, a collection of essays by nine Cambridge theologians with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. With controversy about same-sex relationships within the Anglican Communion rumbling on, this book gives lay people and clergy alike the resources to think through this complex subject in relation to scripture, tradition and reason, and attempts an honest exploration of some of the key difficulties posed for the Church by the question of homosexuality.

Previous publications include Just Cohabiting? The Church, Sex and Getting Married, in which he provides a short history of the church’s complicated and uneasy attitudes to sexuality and marriage and argues for a radical reappraisal of the Church’s position, proposing that in a chaotic climate for relationships, in which couples desire marriage yet fear commitment, the church should embrace cohabitation as part of the process of ‘becoming married.’

Anglicanism: the Answer to Modernity, originally published in 2003 and re-issued in 2005, is a collection of essays addressing the intellectual future of the Church of England in a confident, faithful and open way.

Duncan has also contributed to a number of other edited collections, including Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere (2013) and Religion and Youth (2010) and he contributes regular reviews to The Church Times and Theology.

He is the Chair of Governors at Saint John’s College School. He is also responsible, as secretary to the Livings committee, for the presentation of clergy to 40 parishes in the Church of England with which Saint John’s College has long historic connections.

Duncan Dormor serves on General Synod of the Church of England as Proctor for the University of Cambridge and on the Mission and Public Affairs Council of the Church of England. He is also on the Governing Council of Westcott House, a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee, and a Trustee of the Churches Conservation Trust.

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