[St. Andrew’s Episcopal School] Students of National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) schools studying abroad in Japan recently had the opportunity to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury. St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland, Mississippi students Molly O’Brien and Dan Zehr are spending their sophomore year in Osaka living with host families and attending Momoyama-Gakuin, St. Andrew’s sister school in Japan. They had a special treat when the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, visited the school on Septemnber 26, 2009 to commemorate its 125th anniversary. Also on hand was Ace Furman of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, of which The Episcopal Church is a part. Prior to Williams’ appointment as archbishop in 2003, he served as a bishop, a theologian, and an academic.
Momoyama-Gakuin, Osaka is a school of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Communion in Japan), and it was through NAES that the school initiated exchange programs with other Episcopal schools in the United States in the early 1970s. St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, Texas was the first U.S. school to enter into an exchange with Momoyama-Gakuin, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland, Mississippi joined a few years later in 1975. Currently, St. Stephen’s and St. Andrew’s are the only schools from the original group of participants that are still involved in the program, which has become the model for exchange programs in Japan.