December 2022 Anglican Commentary: Dr. Thomas Conroy ’24

The Compass Rose Society (CRS) Annual Meeting, held at Westminster Hall, London on 3 November 2022, was led by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, CRS president and bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. His focus in this meeting was to explore the hope of the Compass Rose Society: to “not hope for too little” and “to flourish with all that Christ has entrusted to us.”

The meeting began with morning prayer led by Bishop Gutierrez with a reflection given by the Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, vice president of CRS and Provost of the Washington National Cathedral. The first major address came from the Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Poggo stressed the necessity and efficacy of daily prayer and reading scripture for a healthy life. He said that for the people he knows whose bibles are falling apart, their lives are not. “God uses our mistakes for His good.” Bishop Poggo’s overarching mission priorities are to preach the word, build relationships, train for mission, and share resources. His passionate oration culminated in his call to action for care and concern for the many people in impoverished and dire circumstances around the globe with his hope that “when [Christians] say, ‘Give us, this day, our daily bread…,’ they really mean it.”

Ms. Linda Riley Mitchell, treasurer of CRS, gave a concise financial report. The Rev. Canon Rachel Carnegie spoke on creation care and shared a letter from Queen Elizabeth II, dated 3 August 2022, commending the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) for its initiatives and efforts. The Rev. Stephen Spencer, ACO advisor for Theological Education, encouraged us to “write our history for future generations” and he also shared plans for upcoming ministry journeys where the ACO and CRS will seek to help where needs are greatest in the Anglican Communion: for 2023, Tanzania, and 2024, New Zealand. Our own Dr. Grieb gave an elegant account of the work of the Center for Anglican Communion Studies and how CACS and VTS play a prominent role supporting the Anglican Communion.

In addition to the business of the annual meeting, we gathered in worship several times. On 2 November, we attended All Soul’s Evening Eucharist at Westminster Abbey where the choir of men and boys sang the Fauré Requiem. After the service, docents gave us a tour with highlights of many memorials and commemorations within those walls. The tour was followed by an opening reception to welcome CRS members and to give us a chance to meet and learn about each other. Following the annual meeting on Thursday, we assembled in the chapel at Lambeth Palace for Evening Prayer led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. This was followed by a dinner with Archbishop Welby and his wife, Caroline, at Westminster Hall. There were several informative and entertaining speeches as well as a Q and A session with plenty of time for interaction with the other CRS members. The final day of our gathering featured an excursion to Canterbury Cathedral where we had a tour and lunch hosted by clergy from the cathedral.

One of the highlights of my seminary years will certainly be Dr. Grieb taking me upstairs in Lambeth Palace to see the rooms where Thomas Cranmer composed much of the Book of Common Prayer. I offer deep and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Grieb, CACS, and Dean Markham for giving me this great opportunity, and I offer gratitude to the members of The Compass Rose Society who were incredibly welcoming and encouraging.

Dr. Thomas Conroy ‘24

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