"Anxiety" by Edvard Munch (1894)

The political philosopher James Burnham once observed that “suicide is probably more frequent than murder as the end phase of a civilization.” As Justin Welby has demonstrated for some time, the Church of England has been eager to prove this adage true. The appointment of the Rev. Ijeoma Ajibade as his chief of staff, may tick the right diversity boxes, but if her past publications are any guide, the archbishop will be pulled even harder to the left.

The press release from Lambeth Palace shows Ms Ajibade to be a person of consequence within the CoE. She “is a Church of England priest working in the Diocese of London and the Diocese of Southwark. For the last six years she has been Regional Director, Europe, at the Mission to Seafarers. Ijeoma will start as Chief of Staff at Lambeth Palace in November.

“Since her ordination in 2010, Ijeoma has combined ordained ministry with secular work, and she has worked in various roles in the UK public sector. She began her career in local government, working in a number of different areas including audit and special investigations, housing advice and homelessness, and welfare benefit administration. Ijeoma also spent twelve years working for the London Assembly on Assembly Scrutiny and working for two previous Mayors of London (Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson) on economics and business policy.

“Ijeoma has also spent many years as a community activist working on human rights, and HIV awareness and prevention. She has served on the boards of a number of organisations including NAZ Project London, the Marylebone Project, African Health Policy Network, the Kaleidoscope Trust, the Bisi Alimi Foundation and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.”

While the casual observer may pause at the references to Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson as marks in her favor, and wonder what these NGOs actually do – if one does not look too hard, on paper she has the right sort of background. Unfortunately other items found on paper raise questions.

In January 2022 Ms. Ajidabe stated how relieved she was not to have been given the top job at the Clergy Support Trust in light of former prime minister Theresa May’s being a patron of the charity.

Re-Tweets may not always indicate an endorsement, but there appears to be a common theme here.

And, we have a Huffington Post article laying out how awful the Church of Nigeria is (she is Nigerian) for not backing gay rights and same-sex marriage. It does not look like there will be a rapprochement between the majority of the communion with Canterbury if she is advising the archbishop.


True, the article in the Huffington Post is over ten years old – and people do change their views. In this difficult time with communion tensions at an all time high, the appointment to a key position on the archbishop’s staff of a leftist activist will do little to mend fences with estranged Catholics and Evangelicals within the Church of England or with the wider Communion. Suicide does seem to be the choice of the leaders of the Church of England.