Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan

ARCIC-III (Secretary, 2011-2014)

Priest, Diocese of Brandon (Canada); Director of Faith, Worship, and Ministry, Anglican Church of Canada; Director of Unity, Faith & Order and Interim Secretary General, Anglican Communion Office; President of the Canadian Council of Churches.


The Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan is the immediate Past President of the Canadian Council of Churches, a national ecumenical body comprised of 25 member churches.

In 2015, she retired from her work as the Director for Unity Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion, based in London, England. In that capacity she staffed the Inter-Anglican Commission for Unity, Faith and Order, which addresses issues of doctrine and communion life. She was the lead staff for the ecumenical dialogues of the Anglican Communion.

For the first six months of 2015 Alyson served as Interim Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, heading the Secretariat which supports the work of the Instruments of Communion (Lambeth Conference, Anglican Consultative Council, Primates Meeting and the Archbishop of Canterbury).

Before her appointment to the Anglican Communion Office, Alyson was the Director of the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Department of the Anglican Church of Canada, where she staffed its theological and ecumenical work. She has been a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and a Vice-President and President of the Canadian Council of Churches.

Alyson is a canon of the Diocese of Brandon, where with her late husband Bruce, she was co-president of the Henry Budd College for Ministry in the 1980s. She is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Toronto (BA, MDiv, MTh) and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Montreal Diocesan Theological College, Trinity College (Toronto), Lutheran Theological Seminary (Saskatoon), and the Atlantic School of Theology. She has three adult children and four grandchildren, with another on the way.