Lord Prior’s Christmas Message 2023

As the very special time of Christmas is upon us, I would like to extend to everyone, and to your families and friends, my very best wishes and warmest greetings for this Christmastime.

As I write this message from the St John International Office in London, December is upon us and Christmas is rapidly approaching!

Christmas is a time of great joy, and great hope, and it’s a special time for so many across the world.

I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to everyone in the Order. To all of the volunteers, staff, and Order members worldwide, for everything you’ve done this year to make our Order even greater. And an additional special thanks to your loved ones who provide so much support and encouragement that enhances your ability to contribute to the Order and its work.

The world in which we live continues to face many challenges; I think particularly of our colleagues at the St John Eye Hospital Group in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank as they live through the worst conflict their region has seen for many years. The people of St John, rooted in their communities, continue to give amazing and devoted service on a global scale and I take great pride in promoting the people and the work of our Order and the impact we have in 44 countries and territories across the world.

I hope you all enjoy a break over your winter, or summer, or whatever season Christmas brings for you. During this time, please think about the Order: what we have all have achieved over the last year, and the many opportunities that present themselves for the next year.

2023 has been a year of significant achievements. It saw St John Malawi host its first Investiture Ceremony, an expansion of services for St John Ambulance Tasmania to support communities in Timor-Leste, and the refurbishment of St John Jamaica’s training facilities. We’ve launched our new Health and Management Assessment (HAMA) and begun the development of a global Success Model for First Aid toolkit. We celebrated St John Australia’s 140th Anniversary, joined the King’s Procession for the Coronation of  HM King Charles III, and enjoyed “Defibruary” with St John Cymru, and “Shocktober” with Hato Hone St John, and an excellent Grand Council meeting held in Queenstown New Zealand in September where we could continue to explore the Order’s global strategy. (This list is by no means exhaustive!)

We look forward next year, to the launch of our Global Leadership Programme, and to our Grand Council meeting in Cardiff next summer. There is so much we do for communities across the world and so much more we can do to serve more people in need to have even greater impact on our communities. Please continue to think about how we can get bigger and better in the years to come as we enjoy the fact that we are all part of a magnificent international healthcare charity with the special status as a Crown Order of Chivalry. We are many across the world, but we are one.

Thank you again for all that you do. The Order is an important institution, a wonderful organisation, but it’s absolutely nothing without the people who give their time so selflessly, as volunteers, as staff, as members of the Order, right across the world, touching the lives of millions of people each year.

A very happy Christmas to you all.

Professor Mark Compton AM GCStJ
Lord Prior