18 November - Rachel Parry - Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow


 Rachel Parry, Director of Global Relations at USPG



It has without doubt been the privilege of my life to have served in USPG over the past 24 years and to have got to know so many people and shared so many stories and experiences in churches and communities across the Anglican Communion during that time.

My life has been immeasurably enriched and my faith challenged and transformed by the witness and faith of so many Christians across cultures, countries and continents.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity starting next year to continue the journey within the Communion family, both to establish new relationships as well as continue to develop existing relationships. I leave USPG having been appointed to serve the wider Communion through a newly created role supporting the Networks and Commissions  of the Anglican Communion in the new year.

The Communion family has so much that holds it together. It has been a great honour to have served thus far and to have played a part in facilitating some of the many links and connections which gather the Communion together and to have been part of the mission of the global church. The wisdom, bravery and passionate commitment to peace with justice of so many people across the Communion is what continues to inspire and motivate me. 

There are so many memories which I will take with me. However, some of my earliest Communion visits are amongst my most treasured:

  •  the honour of visiting the interior mission in Telupid, Sabah in February 2000; 
  • working alongside Episcopal women in El Salvador, Central America who were running emergency food provision support following the devastating earthquake in January 2001;
  • participating in the unforgettable South Pacific Anglican Council Consultation in 2002 in Vanuatu with some amazing Oceania Anglican church leaders sadly now no longer with us: Archbishop Ellison Pogo, Archbishop James Ayong, Bishop Jabez Bryce, Bishop Viliami Hala'api'api
  • visiting the birthplace of Desmond Tutu, formerly known as Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal.

And of course celebrating USPG’s Tercentenary in St Paul’s Cathedral in 2001 followed by our first International Consultation ‘Venture Fourth’ in Ireland with so many fantastic participants from all around the world many of whom remain friends to this day.

I have been deeply touched by friendships and support given to me personally on many occasions, too many to enumerate here but none forgotten. The House of Bishops and spouses from the Church of the Province of Myanmar praying over my 3 month old daughter in Canterbury at the Lambeth Conference 2008 is a moment I will remember forever. I have never been more challenged and changed to my core than through the witness and love of Christians in Myanmar. May we continue to hold the church there in our daily prayers. 

I am  proud, at this time of Cop26, of having seen many years ago the potential of the amazing UK climate justice organisation, Hope For the Future, in its fledgling days, and subsequently enabling USPG’s early support. More recently, I am honoured to have been involved with the Asian Theological Academy from its beginning, and continue to be so inspired and challenged by this movement.

In all this, and much more, I am enormously grateful to countless dear people around the world, too many to list here but they know who they are, who have shown me such warm hospitality and wonderful faithful friendship. What a joy and a privilege it has all been and will continue to be.

Having worked under five General Secretaries at USPG, through five different re-brandings, and in five different office buildings I am long enough in the tooth to remember the heyday of Partnership House when mission agencies and the ACO worked together under one roof. I am especially excited, therefore, to be renewing my link with the ACO in the new year; a historic Lambeth Conference Year.

I am looking forward immensely in the new year to continuing to work with longstanding colleagues and friends and to making new friendships and relationships, and to playing my part in supporting the Networks and Commissions which are such a crucial part of the wonderful missional fabric of the diverse Communion tapestry that draws us all together in faith, hope and love.