John Louis Peterson


Priest of the church, bridge builder, author, educator, trusted advisor. Your ministry has taken you to seats of power and to places hard to locate on a map.

Educated at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Chicago Institute of Advanced Theological Studies you served churches in Michigan and Illinois, assisted the bishop in the Diocese of Western Michigan and led St. George’s College, Jerusalem as its dean for 12 years.

In 1995 you began your service as the secretary general of the worldwide Anglican Communion headquartered in London providing support and counsel to the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates meeting, the Lambeth Conference and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In an address to the convention of the Diocese of Southwest Florida in 2003, you said, “The main thing [my work as secretary general] has taught me is how to look at priorities, priorities for the Church…priorities for organizations within the Church, and sometimes the hardest, personal priorities. As I travel in this magnificent family, which we call the Anglican Communion I see a world where people do not have enough food to eat…where people live in fear because they have HIV/AIDS infection…where people are not understood…where people lack educational opportunities, or they are victims of racism or sexism…where people, especially children are abused in every possible way from general neglect to the very worst things imaginable.” Your call to the diocese that night was to keep Jesus’ command to ‘Love one another’ in all their decision-making.

You went on to be the first canon for global justice and reconciliation at the Washington National Cathedral where you focused on global issues of violence, poverty and disease and established the Cathedral’s Christian Muslim Summit initiatives. Most recently, you have served as the president of the Compass Rose Society, an international charitable organization that provides financial support to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council. You are Anglican canon at St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, and you have been named honorary canon at cathedrals in Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa.

Your leadership roles throughout the church are marked by dedicated service and love for the church’s mission in a hurting world. For your outstanding and distinguished ministries here and abroad, we are pleased to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

May 12, 2015                                                                                                               Austin, Texas