Canon Burgess Carr Named Africa Officer

Episcopal News Service. April 30, 1987 [87095]

NEW YORK (DPS, April 30) -- The Rev. Canon Burgess Carr, a Liberian priest who for seven years headed the All Africa Council of Churches, has been named Partnership Officer for Africa in the World Mission Unit of the Episcopal Church Center.

The appointment was announced in late April by Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning and completes the critical staffing of partnership officers for the Church. When Carr Joins the staff on May 25, he will be working with the Rev. Patrick Mauney (deputy director and Asia/Pacific) and the Rev. Ricardo Potter (Latin America) in carrying out the Church program with Anglican partner Churches in Companion Relationship, missionary, support, development, advocacy and -- in some cases in Latin America and Asia -- work toward self-sufficiency ministries.

In announcing the appointment, Browning said: "Burgess brings over 20 years of experience working with churches in Africa to the position. His many previous positions have included secretary for Africa, Commission on Inter-Church Aid, Refugees and World Service of the World Council of Churches and general secretary, All Africa Conference of Churches, as well as acting as special consultant to the National Council of Churches, World Bank, United Nations Development Program and Sudan Council of Churches. He has taught at several seminaries, published numerous articles and papers and is looking forward to sharing his many years of experience, considerable gifts and extensive knowledge of Africa as a part of the Church Center team."

Carr, 51, earned both his undergraduate and theological degrees from Cuttington College in his native Liberia and a master's degree in theology from Harvard. After ordination in 1961, he served as a canon on the staff of the cathedral in Monrovia before coming to Cambridge for graduate studies. Carr interrupted his doctoral study at Harvard to join the World Council of Churches as Interchurch Aid African secretary and later as executive secretary of the Council's international affairs office. His work there included relief and mediation efforts during the bloody Nigerian civil war.

Carr was named general secretary of the All Africa Council of Churches in 1971 and, a year later, is credited with a critical role in mediating the end to Sudan's 17-year civil strife.

His tenure over the next six years in the Nairobi-based Council was controversial, with some member Churches accusing him of secularizing the organization and with conflicts with Kenyan officials. Carr was critical both of the West and the legacy of colonialism and of such of Africa's emerging leaders as Idi Amin, whose murderous regime he denounced regularly.

Since leaving the African post in 1978, Carr has lectured or been a member of the visiting faculty at Harvard and Boston University schools of theology and at Newton and Union theological schools. Most recently, he has held the rank of associate professor on the Yale theological faculty. He has served parishes in the Boston and New Haven area and is currently vicar of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, New Haven.

He has been honored by Liberia, Egypt and the African Heritage Studies Association of the United States.

Carr and his wife, Frances, have five children.