FROM HENRY MARTYN TO WORLD CHRISTIANITY: CAMBRIDGE CENTRE FOR CHRISTIANITY WORLDWIDE
Ian Randall, Mutharaj Swamy and Graham Kings
This timely book was published by The Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide in 2022, over twenty years after the Henry Martyn Library became the Henry Martyn Centre. It was later re-named the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide.
The Centre is the fruit of the amalgamation of two Trusts established in Cambridge by Evangelical Anglicans in the 19th century– the Henry Martyn Trust in 1881 and the Henry Martyn Library Trust in 1898. Both Trusts were to encourage members of the University to offer to serve the Church overseas, in response to the visit of David Livingstone in 1857 to Cambridge, and his challenge to the universities delivered in the Senate House, to respond to his call to mission abroad. This call had led to the establishment of the University’s Church Missionary Union, of which John Barton was the Secretary. He later became the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in the city after 20 years serving with the (Anglican) Church Missionary Society in India. The piece of land found for the establishment of a venue for the work happened to be next to that Church. The Henry Martyn Hall, opened there in 1887, was in memory of the outstanding 18th century missionary priest and Fellow of St John’s College, Henry Martyn. He had been curate of Holy Trinity Church, when the great Charles Simeon, co-founder of CMS, was Vicar. The Hall was dedicated to the support of world mission and ‘Christian converse and counsel’. The library was to complement it, providing suitable background reading about world mission for potential missionary candidates. This again complemented the foundation in 1877 of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU), mostly for Evangelical students of different denominations, which used the Hall from its inception. The book traces the developing wide use of the Hall and the Library, their amalgamation in 1934, and the eventual move of the Library to Westminster College in 1996. Later there was the development on that College site of a customized home for the project. It was re-named the CCCW in 2014. The book is also valuable as it traces many religious developments in Cambridge University and city from the 19th century to the present day, and the way in which the Centre has contributed to the academic and practical study of Christian mission from an ecumenical point of view. It has also given encouragement to candidates for mission, and to Christians from abroad coming to study in Cambridge. I wish, however, that it had an index, as so many key people in the religious and academic world are mentioned in the text!
Written by Canon Brian Macdonald-Milne (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge), Formerly missionary priest in the Pacific, Trustee and then Archivist of The Melanesian Mission UK