During a recent visit to the Anglican Church in Angola, Archbishop Rowan Williams laid the cornerstone for a new high school. He could see, however, that the chances of Anglican students ever studying in the building were slim. How could the impoverished local church possibly find the money to complete its construction?

Challenges like this one in Angola are just the kind the Compass Rose Society likes to tackle. At the society’s annual meeting in Canterbury last month, fifty Anglicans from around the globe considered how the Compass Rose Society might support international ministry throughout the developing world—in Angola, in Darfur, at Anglican theological colleges, during crises like the recent earthquake in China, and in other ways.

The Compass Rose Society, is named for the directional device on the face of a compass–also the symbol of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It includes individuals, parishes and dioceses. Since 1994 the Society has disbursed more than $6 million and has become an invaluable resource to the Church.

The Diocese of New Westminster and the parish of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale are members of the Society, along with twenty other members throughout Canada, and many in the U.S., Hong Kong, Great Britain, and New Zealand. Archbishop Williams and Jane Williams hosted a reception and dinner at Canterbury.

Robert and Mary Pat Dickson and Diane and Kevin Dixon in Canterbury, England, last month

Dr. Williams trademark beard and fly-away eyebrows frame laughing eyes that communicate his approachability, and his calm demeanor confirms that the Anglican Communion is in steady hands.

The president of the Compass Rose Society is Bishop Philip Poole, a suffragan bishop in Toronto, who is a champion of international relief and development work by the church. Last spring, Bishop Poole visited Vancouver to welcome St. Mary’s Kerrisdale as a new member of the Society.

Following the annual meeting in Canterbury, some participants traveled together on a mission/study trip to Cyprus to observe the work of the Anglican Communion supported there by the Compass Rose Society. To learn about membership in the Compass Rose Society, contact Terry Noble at terry.noble@compassrosesociety.org.