Newsletter December 2022

Dear Friends,

As an exciting and full year for the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide draws to a close, we thank God for His leading and provision. We also want to thank you for your support and interest through the last twelve months, the first full year for a while when we have all been able to be present and productive.

In conjunction with the Divinity Faculty, this year, we have run a full complement of seminars on some significant topics, and many more are planned. It was a great joy to have some “in person” events and we will build on these in the coming months. Having said this, one benefit of the “blended” approach allows Summer Institute participants, and others not in Cambridge, to connect with us.

Our February Friends’ Get Together incorporated the launch of Bishop Graham Kings’ book Nourishing Mission with an illustrious panel of responders. Then in April, the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Cambridge Theological Federation was very special. Ian Randall co-authored the celebratory edition of their history. The launch of its “twin”, our own history book From Henry Martyn to World Christianity: Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide, on 25 May in the Woolf Institute was another wonderful occasion, and we were delighted with the crowd of “historic” friends who joined us in person and online for that! Ian Randall (co-author) gave a great talk about the fascinating life of John Barton, who was instrumental in setting up the Henry Martyn Trust and building the Henry Martyn Hall.

The long-awaited inaugural World Christianity Summer Institute took place in The Henry Martyn Hall during the July heatwave on a wave of fantastic support. More than 50 people participated in one way or another, and we enjoyed some wonderful partnerships, including with The Rose Castle Foundation and Theological Education in the Anglican Communion. The post-pandemic visa delays prevented several participants from joining us, but nonetheless, it was a tremendously encouraging week. Thanks again to all who helped in a vast multitude of ways. Next year’s Summer Institute takes place at Westminster College, 2-7 July, with the title “The Bible: Everywhere in Everyday Life”. We would be grateful if you would please circulate the details on our website to anyone you think may be interested in this unique learning week.

Director Muthuraj Swamy has been cultivating some new connections and collaborations this year. To mention to: Prof Paul Williams, CEO of the British and Foreign Bible Society, was our speaker at the inaugural Henry Martyn Day seminar in October and Revd Dr Risto Jukko, Director of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, visited the Centre in November. Muthuraj also enjoyed his attendance at the Lambeth Conference in July, for which he co-edited three Preparing for Lambeth books, after which, together with his family, he was able to enjoy a long-awaited return to his homeland. More recently, he delivered a keynote lecture at the annual interfaith conference at the University of Wales Trinity St David; and presented an Anglican Communion Office Seminar at Durham University.

In July, we all gathered in Rachel’s garden for a team social when we said a grateful farewell to Dr Jenny Leith as she prepared to move to Westcott House after two years with us in various roles. Dr Pavlína Kašparová was appointed as her successor and started in September. Pavlina has strong connections to several of the other houses in the CTF. She takes care of our students and Research Associates, and the aim is for more face-to-face opportunities in future, building a stronger sense of community and support. Pavlina is also taking on responsibility for the website, including new pages for our USA Friends.

Our Archivist, Dr Philip Saunders, has had a successful year working on the archival collections – old and new – and has welcomed a number of new visitors to the Centre this year. He is more than willing to help with research projects that require access to CCCW’s archives.

In September, Ruth MacLean represented ABTAPL (Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries) at the BETH (European Theological Libraries) conference in The Netherlands. This was a just reward for her chapter on our library in their 50th Anniversary Festschrift Theological Libraries and Library Associations in Europe (Brill, 2022). We hope this will not be the end of her writing career! Since then, her work has focused on cataloguing many new and donated books, and these have been flying onto the shelves. We encourage you to pop in and see these for yourselves! She is happy to help you locate books in our library relating to your research.

This year we have welcomed four new Trustees, Prof. David Fergusson, Revd Stuart Browning (ex officio), and Ms Lakshmi Piette and Revd Rana Youab Khan. It is fitting to put on record our enormous thanks to our Honorary Treasurer, Jonathan Giles, who is retiring from this work. He has worked tirelessly, keeping tabs on our finances (and more!) for the last 13 years. His shoes are proving very hard to fill, so please do let us know if you have any ideas/names to suggest for a successor.

We want to wish you all the blessings of this wonderful Christmas season and many joys in the year ahead. Thank you again for your company on the journey.