The Compass Rose Society, an international body which seeks to support the ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion is seeking “a more formal relationship” with the Anglican Consultative Council, its president told the council on May 6.
Currently, the Compass Rose Society is “a free-floating body with no group to which it connects and no accountability,” said its president, Canadian Bishop Philip Poole, in an address at the ACC meeting here. “I would like to ask whether we can have a more formal relationship so that the Compass Rose Society can continue for generations to come.”
There have been misconceptions that the Compass Rose Society is merely “an administrative bureaucracy” that doles out money to Anglican bodies, said Bishop Poole, who is also a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the diocese of Toronto (York-Credit Valley). “We’re much more than a source of money for meetings,” he said, adding that the Compass Rose Society was “taking responsibility” for the image that it projects and was doing something to change it.
“Much of the value of our work is on focusing relationships with fellow Anglicans,” said Bishop Poole. He quoted Archbishop Robin Eames, the former primate (senior bishop) of the Church of Ireland, who said that the Compass Rose Society “seeks to bring people together and build bridges” and is composed of Anglicans who are prayerfully and apostolically committed to the cause of Anglicanism.
Bishop Poole, who was appointed president of the society in 2004, said that “we’re not unaware of the challenges in the Anglican Communion today, but that is not our focus; we want to build new relationships.” He was referring to current divisions among Anglicans over the thorny issue of human sexuality.
The society, which was established to provide financial support for the work of the worldwide Anglican Communion, was inspired by a 1994 visit that then-Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey made to the war-ravaged province of the Sudan. Bishop Poole said Archbishop Carey had been “touched at the very deep level” about the sufferings of the Sudanese people and the committed response of the local churches there. “He wanted to know, what can we do to tell their story?” Thus, the Compass Rose Society was born, with the hope that it could help “shine light” on various situations across the Communion so that “awareness could be converted to prayer and prayer to action,” said Bishop Poole.
Bishop Poole said the society currently has 250 members from 10 different member provinces, including the Anglican Church of Canada.
He said its current plans include a visit to the diocese of Southern Malawi, whose bishop, James Tenga Tenga has extended an invitation.
Bishop Poole said that he is also in conversation with the bishop of the diocese of the Arctic, Andrew Atagotaaluk, about what kind of relationship the Compass Rose Society can have with the mostly Inuit Anglican churches there. “That’s a part of my country which is dealing with issues of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and the highest rate of teenage suicide in the country,’ said Bishop Poole.
In asking for the ACC’s support, Bishop Poole said, “It needs to be said that our most important relationship is with you. We need your help so that we’re not just a line item in your financial statement.” The Compass Rose Society currently contributes $100,000 US ($117,000 Cdn) annually through member contributions to the ACC to support its communication efforts and is hoping to raise $25 million US ($29 million Cdn) for an endowment that will secure funding for programs of the Anglican Communion.