[Compass Rose Society] At its recent annual meeting in Canterbury, England, more than over 100 members of the Compass Rose Society honored retiring Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams with the premiere performance of “Advent Calendar,” an anthem based on a poem by Williams and composed by renown composer Peter Hallock.
The members of the society, which provides financial support to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council, elected the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson to succeed the Rt. Rev. Philip Poole as its president and heard the Rev. Nicholas Wheeler discuss his ministry in Rio de Janeiro.
The Canterbury Cathedral Choir performed the premier of the anthem based on William’s poem (see below) as a retirement gift from the society to Williams at an Evensong service in the cathedral.
Hallock is an important influence in modern Anglican church music. During 40 years at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, he produced numerous compositions, including motets and large-scale anthems with instrumental accompaniment. His three-year cycle of psalm settings for choir with congregational antiphons is the most popular psalter in common use in both the Episcopal and Lutheran denominations in the United States.
The popularity of the Compline services he introduced at St. Mark’s spawned a revival of interest in this service, included in the prayer books of Lutheran and Episcopal denominations worldwide.
Peterson, the society’s new president, was most recently canon for global justice and reconciliation at the Washington National Cathedral where he organized a program of education, alliance building, resource gathering and communication to address the acute global issues of violence, poverty and disease. He has been a driving force in the establishment of the Cathedral’s Christian Muslim Summit initiatives.
Peterson served as secretary general of the Anglican Communion from 1995 to 2005, heading the Anglican Communion Office in London, which provides support and counsel to the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates Meeting, the Lambeth Conference and the role and person of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was during Peterson’s tenure as secretary general that the Compass Rose Society was established.
Before his appointment as secretary general, Peterson was the dean of St. George’s College, Jerusalem for 12 years. He is also the Anglican canon at St. George’s and is an honorary canon in St. Michael’s Cathedral, Kaduna, Nigeria; All Saints, Mpwapwa, Tanzania; St. Dunstan’s Cathedral, Benoni, South Africa and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Harrisburg, Penn.
Wheeler, the guest speaker for this year’s meeting, discussed his work in the City of God neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro where he has spent six years with the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil through a partnership between the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro, the Diocese of London and USPG: Anglicans in World Mission.
Built in the 1960s to provide a new start for slum dwellers, the City of God had become a notorious haven of drug trafficking and gun crime and in 2002 Fernando Mireilles’ award- winning film “City of God” brought the community to international attention.
Wheeler has been based at the Church of Christ the King, engaging with the local community, opening up the church space, growing the congregation and sustaining a number of social projects. He also helps other parishes in the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro with their work with the poor.
The Compass Rose Society more that 300 members worldwide was founded in 1997. It takes its name from the symbol of the Anglican Communion.
Since its founding, The Compass Rose Society has contributed over $7 million to support the mission of the Anglican Communion.
© Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
He will come like last fall’s leaf fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.