True North: Anguish and Compass

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As part of our True North Campaign, we are publishing articles that highlight the missionary impact of Anglican Compass. Here we welcome David Roseberry, our first Publisher and one of our most prolific authors. David shares his journey and his wisdom for the next era of Anglican Compass. 

Peter Johnston, the new Ministry President for Anglican Compass, asked me to write an article about my long-standing interest and support of this site. I am happy to do it. I’m a fan.

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During the course of my writing assignment, I had to text Peter a quick question. I know what I told Siri: Anglican Compass. But what she heard—and wrote—was a truthful comment on the state of the church, the culture, and our days ahead. Siri said: Anguish and Compass.

Many in the church today might relate to the phrase. These are days of great anguish, everywhere it seems. The culture is in a free fall. The church’s voice has been displaced by loud arguments of politics and media. It has made its own mistakes. Many (most?) congregations are still rebuilding from the pandemic. God is sovereign, I know, but I wonder if even He agrees sometimes that there is a lot to be “anguished” about.

We are all looking for guidance—for a reliable compass showing us True North.

My Hand in Anglican Compass

When the site began, I kept my distance for a few years. I read everything, but the authors were not known to me. For a few years I was a “lurker”, keeping a curious eye on the site. Then one day, I wrote our founder and asked if he might be looking for a few more authors. He welcomed me with open arms, sent along my log-in information, and told me to get to writing.

I did. I began quietly; a bit nervous. But I got the hang of it and dedicated myself to the work. I even learned how to work the back end of a WordPress site. No easy feat. Over the years I plenty of pieces— around 250 articles—a fifth the total number of posts. Some of my posts are highly forgettable. A few are memorable. I wrote one story about a Surprise Baptism in the Jordan River that went viral. Also my ideas for preaching on Mother’s Day get traction every May. Go figure.

I also supported the site financially through LeaderWorks, providing the funds to hire the first part-time Managing Editor, and I served as Publisher for three years (that means you pay for everything). In that season we rebranded as Anglican Compass, grew our reader base, developed our motto, “Clarity & Charity,” and began to publish books, including The Rector and the Vestry. Writing as much as I did helped me to find my voice as an author (eight of my books are on Amazon including the latest one, The First 24).

My Heart for Anglican Compass

Why did I pour my time and money into this work? It’s simple, really. Anglicanism usually has lots of charity. We can always use more. But it needs clarity, especially now. There are various tribes, factions, expressions, and groups that “do” Anglicanism very differently. They have their own tools, as it were. But after a lifetime of pastoral ministry and leadership, I have noticed that most of us confuse our favorite tools (liturgies, churchmanship, vestments, BCP, etc) with the truth they are intended to proclaim. It’s an old trap that has spawned movements and counter-movements over many centuries, no less than in our time. It begs the question for us all: What is our mission? Polish our shiny tools or proclaim a sturdy truth?

Decades ago, at a Christian concert in an Episcopal church, I said four words that changed the trajectory of my life. At the end of the program, with the encouragement of the preacher, and, as a nearly silent, whispered prayer, I said, “Jesus is the answer.” It didn’t matter to me what the question was either. I knew I had found the Source, Guide, and Goal of all there is. I still believe that—I have believed it for my entire ministry: that Jesus is the answer. Over the course of 40 years of ordained priestly, pastoral ministry in the Episcopal/Anglican Church, I believe that Anglicanism is a very effective way for people to discover that.

I think that Anglican Compass can help the church—its laity and ordained leaders—commit to a clear proclamation of the truth, using the historical and liturgical tools it has. We are the inheritors of reformed thinking, biblical preaching, catholic liturgy, time-honored traditions, and a strong reliance on the Holy Spirit. We have a precious gift for the church and the world; it would be a shame to keep Anglicanism under wraps.

My Hope for Anglican Compass

I am very happy that Peter has the helm of Anglican Compass. He is a bright, clear-minded, courageous leader. If you visit the website of his church and learn the story of their origins, you will be greatly encouraged. I think he will keep the site on track—eschewing shiny objects—and help our Anglican leaders lead in these times of anguish.

I hope that pastors, priests, and church leaders will volunteer to write for Anglican Compass. And I am so glad that younger voices will have a platform to speak about the truth of the Christian faith and the glories and beauty of Anglicanism. We need in-depth, thoughtful, well-articulated articles about a number of topics that affect our church and its mission. Anglican Compass should publish these ideas.

But I also hope that biblical truth will be the watchword for its days ahead. In other words—here comes a trigger warning from an older priest—we need writers who explain the faith in clear and winsome ways, not explore the outer reaches of it. Anglican Compass has an hugely important role—it has an out-sized opportunity to help people find their way to faith in Christ. That is the only reason to have a blog at all. And I hope that I can be a part of it, and help this site to grow and mature for future generations.

There are many readers who need to support this site as it begins a renewed effort to grow. But more than that, Rectors and church vestries need to give generously to this work.

If I look out into the future for twenty years, I can imagine a strong, growing Anglican Church in North America. I can see a few more seminaries and a lot more congregations. I can see a diversity of people groups and unity of mission. And when I think about what it will take to get us there in twenty years, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe that Anglican Compass will be a big part of making it happen.

Learn more about David by visiting Leaderworks. And please support the work of Anglican Compass, so that we can continue to publish with clarity and charity in the midst of the world’s anguish, pointing always to Jesus as our True North.

Published on

November 7, 2022

Author

David Roseberry

David Roseberry leads the nonprofit ministry, LeaderWorks. He was the founding rector of Christ Church, Plano, Texas, and is the author of many books. He lives in Plano with his wife, Fran.

View more from David Roseberry

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