About the Mission Theology Project
Partnership: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Durham University and Church Mission Society founded the project in 2015. USPG joined the partnership in 2017.
Graham Kings with theologians at St Paul's University, Limuru, Kenya: Esther Mombo, Joseph Galgalo (Vice Chancellor) Lydia Mwaniki and Kabiro Gatumu, 2011
Purpose: To raise up new 'Doctors of the Church' in the global South to write, network, publish and engage with theologians in the global North, to renew the worldwide Church and influence society.
People: Bishop Graham Kings, Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion and Hon Fellow, Durham University. Research desk at Lambeth Palace Library. Georgina Morgan, Executive PA. Desk at SPCK, Westminster.
Plan: 12 books in new SPCK book series over 7 years, with four editors from Africa (Lydia Mwaniki), Asia (Muthuraj Swamy), Middle East (Samy Shehata) and Latin America (Joanildo Burity), co-published in the South.
- 2 seminars a term a Lambeth Palace and Durham University
- 3 'writing-for-publication' conferences a year over 4 days in the global South.
- 5 theologians on 'writing-for-publication' sabbaticals in Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Virginia and Pennsylvania, with future 'South to South' plans.
Further details may be found in Bishop Graham's article for Anglican World here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury commented on the project during his Presidential Address to the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka in April 2016:
"At its heart, these challenges are theological and it requires a deepening of our theological resources. We can only confront them by bringing them face-to-face to the reality of a God we study, worship, engage with, theologically. That is, incidentally, why I support Bishop Graham Kings, who was with us earlier this week, as Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion. We need to develop our theological strength and visibility in every part of the Communion. Graham’s remit is to support, with others such as the ACO and ACC, the development of the visibility of the hugely deep and important theological resources in parts of the world that the historic centres of theology, mainly in the Global North, too easily forget."
The 2014-15 Durham University Donor Report made mention of the Mission Theology project through the Lambeth Mission Fellowship. Read more here: Durham Donor Report 2014-15 LMF
The post was announced in February 2015 with the following comments.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: "I am delighted that this strong partnership has developed with CMS and Durham University. It is very gratifying that the concept of a Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion has attracted the necessary support to get to this stage where the post can be established. I know that the Anglican Communion has many gifted theologians and it is so important that their voice is heard more widely. I am glad that Bishop Graham's experience and knowledge of the Communion is being made so generously available and I shall encourage the development of this project with a keen interest."
With staff and students at Bishop Gwynne Theological College, Juba, South Sudan, 2014
The Revd Professor Joseph Galgalo, Vice-Chancellor of St Paul's University, Limuru, Kenya: "This partnership affords new and creative ways of initiating and managing theological discourses across the Communion; and equally provides opportunities for constructive engagements. Bishop Graham Kings, with his vast experience in cross-cultural mission, is well placed to build a wide network of theologians to stimulate fruitful theological conversations, and to inspire partnerships across communities of faith. I wish him well and all God's blessings as he lays the foundation for this exciting responsibility."
Canon Philip Mounstephen, Executive Leader of the Church Mission Society: "CMS has long been committed to enabling the theological insights and voices of the global south to be better heard around the world as together we explore, and learn more, of the mission of God. I'm thrilled with this new post in CMS."
Professor Alec Ryrie, Head of the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University: "This partnership is exactly the kind of creative enterprise that we should be entering into, to make more of the fresh and important theological thinking taking place in areas which are sometimes remote to readily accessible scholarship. Our leading research and alumni networks can hopefully bring emphasis and credibility to this initiative. We are delighted to welcome Dr Kings as an Honorary Fellow in the Department."
Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Interim Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion: "Bishop Graham is well known to the Anglican Communion Office, through his participation in the interfaith network of the Anglican Communion. I am excited that this new post, although not based in the ACO, will complement our work in mission and theological studies. My colleagues and I look forward to working in partnership with him."
The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings: "I am amazed at this creative post, and give thanks to God. I am also deeply grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury, CMS and Durham University and to the wide range of supporting donors. Henry Venn, the great 19th Century General Secretary of CMS, talked of 'self-supporting, self-governing and self-extending churches' throughout the world. For many years, more recently, there has been a 'fourth self': 'self-theologising'. It is these voices which need to be heard more clearly throughout the Communion."