Installation of our new Lord Prior

Respect, relevance and renewal: These were the three words Mark Compton was reflecting on in his inaugural speech as new Lord Prior. On 19 September the former Chancellor of the Priory in Australia was installed as Lord Prior in the Order’s Priory Church in London by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.

“In order to nurture all St John people, I‘d like to briefly discuss three themes that we all might reflect on and incorporate in our own journeys within St John”, Mark said in his address to all guests. “These themes are: Respect; Relevance; Reneval.”

Respect for the Christian faith and that we are a Crown Order of Chivalry is crucial, because both are the very foundations of the Order. “Along with our Values, they determine how we behave and how we deliver care and service to our communities.”

Relevance helps the Order all over the world to best serve the community and to remain a strong, successful and sustainable organisation. “One key element to ensure our relevance”, Mark continued ”is the need to increase diversity, especially gender, but in all its forms, in the Order.” Therefore, the new Lord Prior aims to significantly increase the percentage of women on the key governing bodies of the Order, but also to improve engagement with and participation by younger members.

And finally, Mark pointed out the need for ongoing renewal for St John. “Spending time reflecting on who we are, what we do, what is the future, how does the community view us and how do our members see us are all important questions to ask on the renewal journey.”

The installation was attended by St John members and friends from all over the world. Priories and Associations had sent their representatives, as well as the Johanniter and Maltese Orders. After our former Lord Prior Sir Malcolm Ross was released from his duty, the insignia of Lord Prior were handed to Professor Mark Compton. After the installation, 20 women and men were invested as Dames and Knights of the Order, and the Hon Lady Barttelot received the honour of Dame Grand Cross.

I sit at the feet of our members, learning and admiring each day and I hope that I can, not only lead the Order as Lord Prior, but also use my position to trumpet the marvellous work of our Order and its members across the world;” Mark ended his speech. “For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity”.