THE English are “tone deaf” to the concerns of the wider Anglican Communion, the chief executive of USPG, the Revd Duncan Dormor, said this week.
Mr Dormor was speaking this week about the launch of “Rethinking Mission”, a new initiative by the international charity to encourage “a fresh engagement with the wider questions facing society”, and, in particular, with Anglicanism, “beyond the English”.
“Christianity is intrinsically an intercultural experience,” Mr Dormor said on Monday. “To be a deeper, fuller, truer Christian requires reaching out from yourself to another.”
The English continued to be poor at this: they remained “dominant and inattentive”, Mr Dormor said. The dominance of the English language was a chief cause of this. He recalled meetings overseas at which he was the only person for whom English was the first language. “This asks questions about the nature of power. . . Churches need to be places of resistance against power.”
He challenged the perception that Christians overseas were poor and in need of help. “The places perceived to be in need — even places where persecution demands a great deal of personal courage — none the less demonstrate the most joyful manifestations of Christianity,” he said.
In a new booklet, Open to Encounter, Mr Dormor writes: “The key Christian virtue is humility, a genuine openness to others and an acceptance that every culture brings something new to what it means to be a Christian.”
He wishes to see the relationship between donor and recipient changed: “For us, it’s important that donors understand we are a Christian mission agency, that we’re about personal transformation, and that means the act of giving should transform the donor as well as the recipient.”
USPG, where Mr Dormor has been chief executive since January 2018 (News, 28 July 2017), also hopes to broker closer ties between parishes and dioceses in the UK and their opposite numbers in the Global South; and to foster closer engagement with justice issues that are encountered by partner churches.
USPG is organising a Rethinking Mission day in Liverpool Cathedral on 16 March.
Leader comment, page 14