Category: St Anselm (page 2 of 16)

New Prior Announced for the Community of St Anselm

Our new Prior is an Anglican priest and biblical scholar originally from the American Southwest. 

The Revd Dr Rosalyn Murphy, currently vicar of St Thomas’ Church in Blackpool, joins us in April 2018. She takes over from the Revd Anders Litzell, who was Prior of the Community since its launch in 2015.  Her appointment  takes us forward into an exciting new phase in the Community’s life.

“It is indeed an honour to be selected as Prior to the Community of Saint Anselm. While it will be quite different from parish work, I’m looking forward to mentoring young Revd Dr Rosalyn MurphyChristian leaders from around the world as they seek to broaden their faith. Serving within a monastic community where there will be opportunities to teach, pastor, and learn from the diverse cultural and social experiences of others, will be a welcome challenge. I believe being part of the community will allow me to play a meaningful role in shaping the future Church on an international scale.” – The Revd Dr Rosalyn Murphy

Rosalyn has extensive experience of formation, having been a training facilitator for curates and new priests in four Church of England dioceses. She is also a published biblical scholar, bringing a Liberation and Womanist theological perspective to her research. She has been a frequent guest lecturer at academic institutions and organisations including UNESCO and the universities of Durham, Cambridge, Kent and Bristol, among others.

Born in Texas, Dr Murphy spent most of her life in Wisconsin, where her father was an ordained Pentecostal minister in the Church of God in Christ, and her mother served as the diocesan head of women’s ministry. She has an honours degree in Communications and Theology from Marquette University, and completed postgraduate studies in International Relations at the University of Wisconsin. She received her master degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, before travelling to England.  Whilst in England, Dr Murphy completed a masters in theological research, and a doctorate in theology from Durham University prior to her ordination in 2005. Rosalyn has lived in the UK for nearly 20 years with her husband Kenneth, now a retired entrepreneur and clergyman. She has two adult children.

“I’m delighted that Rosalyn is coming to join the Community of St Anselm as Prior. Not only does she bring a wealth of pastoral and teaching experience, she embodies many of the central themes of our community life, which are focused on rooting young people in Jesus. Rosalyn’s personal story, significant ministry experience and the fact she is from another part of the Anglican Communion are gifts, enhancing the diverse team who collaboratively lead this community.” –  Archbishop Justin Welby, Abbot of the Community 

Considering membership? Applications for Community of St Anselm membership in 2018/19 are now open. Apply online now


Guest Blog: Wax Strips and Wittenberg Nails

We’re delighted that Hannah Barr, one of this year’s NonResident Members, has just been named Young Blogger of the Year at the 2017 Premier Digital Awards and to celebrate, we’re reposting her most recent piece – about waxing, reformation, and her perspective on why we pursue unity, even when it hurts. You can find Hannah’s blog at 

A friend of mine (and I genuinely do mean a friend, this isn’t a story about me that I’m embarrassed to admit is about me) was waxing her moustache. She applied the wax strip, smoothed it down, and prepared to pull. She began to pull it, decided it was too painful, so left it and went to bed. The next morning she woke up, had wax which had hunkered down and brought in several strands of hair from her head for good measure but had decided to divorce the strip of paper. That her face is now wax free (also hair free) is the result of perseverance and repeated exclamations of pain.

What is my point? Other than wanting to stress that this is not a personal anecdote because I am a boss at willingly ripping hair out of my body in acquiescence to patriarchal aesthetic standards. My point is this: unity hurts, but not as much disunity does. 

It’s Reformation Day (if you’re a church history nerd). It’s also Hallowe’en (if you’re into chocolate and exceptional grammar). This year Reformation Day is a bit of a big deal because it’s the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. There was a time when I could tell you a lot about the 95 theses, but that time was a first year undergraduate module on medieval and reformation theology and over time, the nuances of reformation history have been replaced by other, more exciting (and useful) theological facts. Anyway, long story rendered exceedingly short and majorly simplified: there was a colossal church schism in the West and, much like the schism with the East, our ecclesiology since then has been an almighty spit in the face of the call to be the Body of Christ. (I told you this was over-simplified, please don’t shout at me, I’m a theological ethicist, not a church history expert).

As it’s the 500th anniversary, there’s been much more of a buzz around Reformation Day than perhaps there usually is. Across my networks, opinion is slightly divided. My broadly Protestant Facebook friends are very happy about the Reformation and my more Catholic-leaning Twitter world is slightly less enthusiastic.

Say a miracle was to happen and Rome and everyone else reunited, and then West reunited with East, it would be amazing! Wouldn’t it? The church coming together as one body… although, if you’re an ordained woman or an ordained man who would want to say “ordained woman,” how idyllic will unity be in that instance? Can you even get unity through that chasm?

There’s a cost to unity and it can be a painful one. In genuine unity, you see that every human being is in the image of Christ, you capture just a glimpse of God’s love for them, and your care and compassion for them becomes consuming and forever unfulfilled to completion due to the postlapsarian condition. I’ve only been in the Community of St Anselm for a few weeks, but that vow I made ‘I choose you’ to my fellow community members has unequivocally become ‘I love you.’

On my lunch break, I think about the resident members sharing the peace with one another before they celebrate the Eucharist. As the majority of my colleagues come into the office around 9am, my mind is drawn to my fellow non-resident members going into their various places of work. Through Twitter, I see where in the world my Abbot is and I pray for him. My Sharing Group WhatsApp buzzes and I am reminded of these people who opened their lives to me and I to them and the humbling yet empowering privilege that is. I scroll through the notes on my phone and come across the words written down after time with my spiritual companion, words straight from God that sear through my inner being, the fire of divine love. And then I remember that even though our ultimate authority is on the throne, in this temporal realm she belongs to Rome while I belong to Canterbury, that whenever someone says ‘we all share in one bread,’ I can no longer say that without feeling crippling pain because she and I cannot share in one bread.

Unity hurts, but not as much as disunity does.

There’s a cost to unity and it can be a painful one. Ask the God who hung on a cross until he died.

I like the Eucharist a heck of a lot more than I did before I donned an alb, took a cross, and said ‘I choose you.’

Disunity destroys your ability to see the image of Christ in another. Disunity distorts what truly matters, it values things over people. Disunity revels in jealousy and greed and anger. Disunity treats the cross like a game of capture the flag. Disunity says ‘this is my body, broken for some of you.’ Disunity would have been a full stop after the gates of Eden closed. But that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happens. God makes us garments and clothes us. He covers our shame but we still feel acutely that shame. But I’d rather feel that than death. Disunity brings death.

Unity hurts; to turn to the person who has wounded you and say ‘peace be with you’ can be utter agony. But disunity, it might feel gratifying now, it might shirk the responsibility of reconciliation in the present, it might seem like all you are missing is a toe here and a finger there, but the end result is a pain unendurable.

Unity hurts, but not as much as disunity does.

Want to spend a Year In God’s Time? Applications for Resident and NonResident Membership in 2018-2019 open soon – subscribe to our website or follow us on Twitter @YearinGodsTime for updates. 

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