Changing World, Changing Church: Stephen Bayne and "Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence"
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Following the Second World War, the Anglican Communion
confronted a changing world, marked by a shift of power away from the
historically preeminent churches, challenges to historic approaches to mission,
and a global ecumenical movement. At the 1963 Anglican Congress, the Communion
responded with “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of
Christ,” a dramatic call for a new pattern of Anglicanism. The person at the
center of this change was Stephen Bayne, an American bishop serving as the
first Anglican Executive Officer. Bayne crafted a missiology that was both
practical and contextual, stressing personal relationships over ecclesial bureaucracy,
emphasizing a new model of mission in which all gave and received, and showing
how a strengthened Anglican identity could strengthen ecumenism. As the
Anglican Communion again faces a challenging world, Stephen Bayne and MRI are
important reminders of how the church has confronted change in the past.