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A Meeting with the Dean of Emeritus of Canterbury, The Very Reverend Dr. Robert Willis
February 21 @ 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Robert Willis is a priest in the Church of England. He is known for being a theologian, hymn writer, and pastor. He served as Dean of Canterbury, running the mother church of the Anglican Communion and the King’s School, Canterbury (the world’s oldest school, founded by St. Augustine in 597) and advising three archbishops, from 2001 to 2022 following nine years as Dean of Hereford and five years as Vicar of Sherborne Abbey. A leading member of the General Synod for over thirty years and with oversight of the Deans’ council of England for sixteen years, he has also worked on numerous regional, national and international boards – including here in the US – of charities and associations ranging from the arts and music to homelessness and healthcare. He is most recently well known for the broadcasts of Morning Prayer that he and his civil-partner of 22 years, Fletcher Banner, made every day for 26 months from the Deanery Garden in Canterbury during the COVID-19 pandemic which attracted and still attracts millions of views from all over the world of people of all faiths and none (www.youtube.com/@GardenCongregation), helping people through those dark years and bringing many back to faith. He has received doctorates from various universities, including Yale, and the rare Freedom of the City of Canterbury in recognition for his work and the Cross of St Augustine from Archbishop Rowan Williams and the gift of a relic from His Holiness in recognition and thanks for his work in ecumenism and reconciliation. On January 23, 2023 he was named Dean Emeritus of Canterbury by Archbishop Justin Welby and since then both he and Fletcher have been working as ambassadors for the church and various charities all over the world.
Callie first became acquainted with both Dean Willis and Fletcher when they visited Charleston for the dedication of the newest cathedral in the Anglican Communion, Grace Church Cathedral. A few years later, Callie, as part of the Cathedral Chapter, visited Canterbury for the occasion of the Dedication of Bishop William Alexander Guerry (a local SC saint) at the Chapel of Saints and Martyrs of Our Own Time in the cathedral in Canterbury. They have remained great friends ever since and are thrilled to be coming to spend time with our community in St John’s Island.