Fifty years ago this week, Anglicans from all over the world gathered in Toronto for the second post-war Anglican Congress. The meeting was fruitful in a whole variety of ways, but what it is especially remembered for is “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ,” a manifesto that set forth a new way of being the worldwide body of Christ.
In a Church Times op-ed this week, I argue that the vision set forth in MRI is as valuable and relevant to Anglicans now as it was fifty years ago:
In its emphasis on the patient work of building genuine relationships across lines of difference, the importance of genuinely coming to know one another in the context in which each lives, and above all in its recognition that God is always calling us to something greater than ourselves, MRI has much to teach us.
It is risky to reach out to those who are different from us, and daring to ask what we might learn from someone from a different background. But it is precisely these things that are at the heart of what it means to be God’s people in the world – a fact that is no less true today than it was in August 1963.
By chance, the anniversary coincides with the news that Bishop James Tengatenga’s appointment at Dartmouth University has been rescinded. I have nothing to add to this depressing piece of news that has not been said elsewhere—particularly by Bishop Michael Ingham—except to note that the controversy over the appointment sadly demonstrates the point I was trying to make: it truly is challenging to reach out and encounter those who are genuinely different than us and see what it is we can give and receive from them.
The Church Times article on MRI is the first of two I’ve written about the anniversary. Look for a separate article coming soon in The Living Church.
And if you never have, why not take the time to read the text of MRI?