The new monastic community for young people based at Lambeth Palace, the office and official residence in London of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has a new prior. The Community of St Anselm invites young Christians, aged 20-35 from around the world, to spend one year “in a radical Jesus-centred community of prayer, study and serving local communities.” It has just opened applications for next year’s intake. The Revd Dr Rosalyn Murphy, currently vicar of St Thomas’ Church in Blackpool, a resort town in the north-west of England, will take up the role of Prior from April next year.
The Community of St Anselm was launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2015 as a monastic-inspired community for young Christians.
Dr Murphy, an Anglican priest and biblical scholar originally from the south-west of America, will take over from the Revd Anders Litzell, who has served the Community as its Prior since it launched.
Rosalyn has extensive experience of formation, having been a training facilitator for curates and new priests in four Church of England dioceses.
“It is indeed an honour to be selected as Prior to the Community of Saint Anselm,” Dr Murphy said today. “While it will be quite different from parish work, I’m looking forward to mentoring young Christian 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.”
Archbishop Justin Welby said that he was “delighted” that Rosalyn was joining the Community. “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,” he said. “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.”
The current Prior, Anders Litzell, welcomed the announcement, describing it as an “excellent appointment”. He said: “she will bring a wealth of riches to the shared life of the Community.”
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, Emili and Kenneth III.
Would-be members of next year’s intake are being invited to create an online profile on the Community of St Anselm’s website. This is the first step in a process of selection that can take several months to complete, and which will “require thought and prayer as we put together next year’s Community,” the Community says on its website. “But we invite you to begin this journey of discernment with us – who knows where God will lead you as you reflect on his calling to become more like Jesus!”