This chapter was a guest lecture at the Pontifical Urban University, Rome, in October 2016. John R. W. Stott, Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, and theologian of the worldwide Evangelical movement, co-chaired the Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mission and the Catholic co-chair was Mgr. Basil Meeking, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Rome. Drawing on Stott’s private papers at Lambeth Palace Library, I describe the background to the dialogue, the three meetings in Italy, England and France and the 20,000 word report which featured in Time magazine.
This chapter developed out of a lecture given at the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, in 2010. It gives the context for my mission as a bishop in Dorset as well as reflecting on the themes of Word, Tradition, Sacrament and Unity and on the bishops (David Gitari, John V. Taylor, David Stancliffe and Tom Wright) and theologians (Oliver O’Donovan, Kwame Bediako, David Ford and Michael Nai-Chiu Poon) who have influenced me.
This was the inaugural lecture of the Mission Theology in the Anglican Communion project, given in June 2016 in Durham Cathedral, and in July at Lambeth Palace. It begins with the significance of the Venerable Bede (Durham), Alfred Tucker (missionary bishop in Uganda and then Canon of Durham) and Theodore of Tarsus (Archbishop of Canterbury), before expounding the story of Sarah in Genesis 18, with Silvia Dimitrova’s painting and my poem, and considering current influential mothers of mission theology.
In my conclusion, I consider Genesis and the Ascension in tracing the concept of God who creates and then ‘gets out of the way’, providing space for human beings, while also reshaping God’s supportive presence. Mission involves following this pattern of God, who creates, gets out of the way, and assures. I point out that in the previous chapters mission and church, theology and practice, worship and ministry have all interwoven over the years, and give three answers to the question ‘why write?’. I end with my poem, The Prayer Stool, which involves delving deeply into God and being sent out by God into his world.
This chapter was written for an ecumenical theological dining group in London, the All Souls Club, which was founded by T. S. Eliot and others and has nourished me for many years. It develops concepts of the mind across time – past (remembering), present (thinking) and future (imagining) – and explores the work of three giants of theological creativity, (Augustine, Anselm and Rowan Williams) drawing on history, theology and three of my poems.
Stephen Harding was a monk of Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, who became the influential third Abbot of Cîteaux, a mentor to Bernard of Clairvaux and wrote the constitution of the Cistercians. In this chapter, I consider his portraits, his life (drawing on modern biographers as well as on William of Malmesbury and on Conrad’s Exordium Magnum Cisterciense) and his writings. His spirituality, administrative skills, planting of monasteries and sharing with Jews in the study of the Scriptures were extraordinary.
This chapter was written as an Afterword for the Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South, edited by Mark A. Lamport (2018). Under maps, I discuss the Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral, how the ‘discovery’ of America did not mean the immediate abandonment of old maps, the integrating of the history of East and West Europe, The Times Atlas of World History, The Brandt Report, Joseph Needham’s series Science and Civilisation in China and Christianity in Africa. Under myths, I consider Homer, Virgil, Dante, Milton and Walcott and the Greeks ignoring of indigenous informants and their sliding scale of civilisation. I begin and end with challenging quotations by John S. Mbiti.
The Diocese of Salisbury, where I served as Bishop of Sherborne, had a long-term link with the Episcopal Church of Sudan. This chapter combines two articles on South Sudan. The first, published in The Guardian, describes the birth of the nation which I witnessed in 2011. It provides background on the civil wars, a description of the Independence Day ceremony, and comments on the speeches cathedral services. It ruminates on the themes of exodus, exile and Psalm 124. The second, published in The Times, portrays my visit to Malakal in the north of South Sudan in 2013 to lead a clergy refresher course. It includes descriptions of role playing New Testament passages as well as reflections on the global South and its influence in the Anglican Communion.
After beginning with comparing the use made by Jomo Kenyatta and Bishop David Gitari of the Old Testament story of King Ahab stealing of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21), I provide the context in the Dioceses of Mount Kenya East and Kirinyaga, and then comment on Gitari’s sermons on Naboth, Daniel chapter 6 (changes to the constitution) and 1 Kings 12 (the division of the kingdom) with his applications to contemporary politics in Kenya. Included also are vivid descriptions of a scriptural litany on the environment and a Kenyan passion play.
In this introduction I expound each of the words of the title of the book, ‘Nourishing’, ‘Mission’, ‘Theological’, and ‘Settings,’ provide autobiographical settings to the each of the 16 chapters and overviews of them, consider six cohering themes of the whole book, and conclude with thanksgiving.