Press statement, 2 December 2020
Churches Together in England (CTE) is delighted to announce the appointment of Shermara Fletcher to the role of Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations, commencing in March 2021. Shermara will lead CTE’s work amongst Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, as well as facilitating CTE’s new Racial Justice Working Group.
A dynamic millennial leader
Shermara is a dynamic millennial Pentecostal leader with significant experience in community organising, ecumenical engagement, leadership development and public speaking.
With roots in the Church of God of Prophecy, Shermara joins CTE from her current role as Director of The William Seymour Project at Centre of Theology and Community, and co-founder of The Open Table homeless ministry at St George-in-the-East, Shadwell.
The Centre for Theology & Community’s William Seymour Project equips Pentecostal and Charismatic churches to act for justice through the methodology of community organising, increasing their influence in public life and building theological understanding of their civic discipleship and public call to justice.
The Open Table, based at St George-in-the-East, Shadwell (Church of England), is a growing ministry building community with parishioners who are homeless and vulnerably housed. Shermara’s focus has been on having the homeless at the heart of the church, with their team of unlikely leaders providing frontline support to their homeless community and seeing people come to faith, lead services and embark on ministry formation. They also work collaboratively on local and national campaigns to provide modular homes for the homeless – and were recently chosen to receive 12 units up to the value of £900,000.
Shermara recently contributed a chapter to the book Coming Home: Christian perspectives on housing, writing from a Pentecostal perspective. Edited by Rt Rev Dr Graham Tomlin and Rev Dr Canon Malcolm Brown, and published by Church House Publishing, the book proposes a practical and biblical theology of housing provision as an essential part of community building.
Shermara is also committed to engaging young people and young Pentecostals and Charismatics by creating opportunities for them to exercise leadership and to enter into service in the public square.
In recognition of her ground-breaking work, Shermara was the recipient of the 2020 Exceptional Young Woman award from The Wise Women Awards.
Passionate about churches working together
Looking forward to taking up her new role in March 2021, Shermara says:
“I am really looking forward to working at CTE with Pentecostal and Charismatic churches as I believe they have a powerful witness in the wider kingdom of God, but more importantly to public life. I very much looking forward to working with the Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum, the Racial Justice Working Group and my colleagues at CTE, as well as engaging millennials in the life of CTE.
“I do not only believe that ecumenism is a good thing, but it has been interwoven throughout my life, from my younger days of inter tradition church services to teaching Pentecostal Spirituality and discipleship to different church traditions. I have also worked across different church traditions on social justice campaigns, including The Church of England, The Baptist Union, The Salvation Army, The Roman Catholic Church and Free Churches to name a few. I am looking forward to being involved in the ecumenical instrument of England and seeing the life and breadth of God’s Church working together towards the common good.”
A key ecumenical role
Churches Together in England supports and encourages churches from a wide range of traditions to work together in unity, sharing in God’s mission and making the gospel of Jesus Christ known in our nation.
The Pentecostal and Charismatic presence within Churches Together in England (CTE) has grown significantly since CTE was founded in 1990, now accounting for approximately 46% of CTE’s national Member Churches (some 23 of the 50). This significant group of Member Churches has their own Forum, appoints their own President for CTE (one of six), and with other churches in membership of CTE (among them Anglican, Catholic, Free Churches, Orthodox Churches, Lutheran Churches and Quakers) represents one of the widest ecumenical community of churches anywhere in Europe.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and global protests against racial injustice, CTE’s new Racial Justice Working Group will provide an ecumenical space where national Member Churches can co-ordinate their efforts to become beacons of best practice in racial justice, and amplify their voice together in calling for a racially just society. Shermara will lead this aspect of CTE’s work, bringing experience and passion to this call for racial justice.
Leaders welcome Shermara’s appointment
CTE’s Pentecostal President, Pastor Agu Irukwu, welcomes Shermara to the role:
“Shermara brings a wealth of experience to this role as Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations at CTE. Her work across various denominations and church expressions has prepared her well for this post.
“A well-respected leader within the Pentecostal community, her passion for justice will be a major asset. At a time when the world is dealing with the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in America, she will contribute extensive knowledge and experience to CTE’s role in encouraging churches to play their part in bringing an end to racial injustice in the UK.
“I am particularly encouraged by her commitment to engage with and inspire a younger generation of Pentecostals to become tomorrow’s leaders in the Church and other spheres of life. I look forward to working with Shermara in serving our immediate constituency and the larger body of Christ”.
CTE’s General Secretary, Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, looks forward to the impact Shermara will make:
“The appointment of Shermara Fletcher to the post of Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations at Churches Together in England is an exciting one that reflects the importance of these church traditions, and also racial justice, for the ecumenical family of churches.
“The shape of the Church in England in the twenty-first century is one in which Pentecostals and Charismatics take their place at its heart, and to have such a gifted young ecumenist in this role demonstrates our investment in the future of the Church, which is undoubtedly ecumenical.
“I look forward immensely to working with Shermara, to deepening our relations with the Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions, and to implementing collaborative actions for a world which takes racial justice seriously, in the life of the Church and wider society.”
Rev Dr Lurliene Miller, Vice Chair of CTE’s Trustees, represents CTE Member Church the Joint Council of Churches for All Nations, and also co-chairs the new CTE Racial Justice Working Group. Speaking about Shermara’s appointment she says:
“CTE is keen to increase the involvement of young people in ecumenism, and Shermara’s appointment to the CTE team will help us on this journey. Her background demonstrates leadership, initiative and influencing abilities. These, along with her strong desire to learn, are key requirements for this post. I look forward to working with Shermara as she contributes fresh ideas, perspectives and an additional set of skills to the CTE team.”
Bishop Mike Royal, Co-Chief Executive of Cinnamon Network UK and representative for the Apostolic Pastoral Congress on CTE’s Charismatic and Pentecostal Forum, sat alongside Lurliene on the interview panel. He shares his delight at Shermara’s appointment:
“We are delighted to welcome Shermara Fletcher as Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations at CTE. Shermara comes to us having been Director of The William Seymour Project in London. She has a track record of engaging ecumenically with Pentecostal leaders and fostering relations between them and the historic churches.
“Shermara is rising star! A millennial leader, willing to tackle all the issues the Church needs to grapple with today. Her Pentecostal roots and ecumenical relationships make this an exciting appointment. We wish her well as she begins her new role in early 2021.”
More about Shermara
Shermara has a wide range of experience including faith, business and political consultancy, leadership development and school chaplaincy. She is a member of the Citizens UK London Mayoral Strategy Team and the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race, as well as the Imani Forum which engages intergenerational dialogue between millennial and pioneer leaders. She is also an ambassador of the Women’s Federation of World Peace.
She holds a Joint BA Honours in English Literature and Drama from The University of Birmingham, and an MA in Leadership and Theology from St Mellitus College (accredited by The University of Durham).
Shermara is also a public speaker and has chaired/co-chaired many events, including the Greater London Authority (GLA) Covid-19 recognition ceremony. She has also guest lectured at theological seminaries and spoken at universities.
Shermara is a gifted communicator and has featured on broadcasts and magazines across the UK, America, Africa, Canada and the Caribbean, including for the BBC, Sky News and UCB. She is also the creator and host of Beef & Justice – a live Facebook discussion with guests addressing topical issues that most Christians avoid, with courage and clarity.
Shermara is also a singer and had a top three single in a global radio chart called Define Me, which speaks to the mental health and low self-esteem that many young people face in society.
- To arrange an interview with Shermara Fletcher or CTE’s General Secretary Paul Goodliff, please contact Lorraine Shannon at [email protected] or on 020 7529 8131
- Churches Together in England (CTE) is the national ecumenical instrument supporting and encouraging churches from a wide range of traditions to work together in unity. Nationally, CTE brings together 50 Member Churches from many diverse traditions. Read more about Churches Together in England.
- More about Pentecostals and Charismatics within Churches Together in England:
- Today the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement includes classical Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations, umbrella agencies, independent congregations, as well as a presence within non-Pentecostal and non-Charismatic churches such as the Catholic and Anglican churches.
- The Pentecostal and Charismatic movement is also discernible through a range of ethnicities and nationalities, including Black Pentecostals (African and Caribbean), and those of European or Asian roots.
- Critical to the journeying together of these churches is CTE’s twice-yearly Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum. At its heart is building fellowship and friendships that flow back into the churches and help to develop acts of mission together.
- The post of Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations was previously held by Bishop Joe Aldred, who retired in October 2020 after 18 years with Churches Together.