Rev Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony of the Church of England opened the 2018-2019 VPI series at The Lay Centre Sept. 20. The theme of the evening was, “Walking Together on the Way, with God, for Others.” The speaker, who also serves as deputy director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, delivered his lecture, titled “Managerialism, Gregory and Walking Together,” followed by a discussion. The Lay Centre offers an abstract of his lecture below. The text of his complete lecture is available attached below.
Managerialism, Gregory and Walking Together
By Justin Lewis-Anthony
The early years of the Roman mission to Kent were anxious times for the missionaries: how were they to deal with the culture, rituals and practices they found? Pope Gregory advised not to destroy pagan temples but to empty them of their idols so that they could become places to worship God.
Echoing Gregory’s approach, Augustine — the first Archbishop of Canterbury — is described as creatively adopting and adapting insights of administration to administer the church. The 21st-century Guidelines for the “Professional Conduct of Clergy” of the Church of England states, “Good administration enables good pastoral care.” But this should not be seen as a concession to managerialism.
After a short discussion on management, the author discusses MAPs (Mission Action Plans), a melding of secular strategic planning and the Church’s mission, arguing that these are an expression of the greatest fiction of the ideology of managerialism, namely, moral neutrality. By drawing inspiration from Pope Gregory’s advice and Augustine’s actions, this paper shows how the Church is not called to success but to following Jesus. Management is not everything: a spiritual life of prayer, good deeds, detachment from worldly things made up the face of the Church that Roman missionaries showed in Canterbury and that allowed many people to encounter Jesus.
The author concludes his paper with a reflection on Christian unity and, in particular with the October 2016 common action by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope of Rome, who commissioned 19 pairs of bishops, Anglican and Catholic, as part of the weeklong summit meeting of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). The purpose of these pairings was to celebrate and reflect upon the deepening relationship between the two traditions and to find practical ways to give expression to their unity in the ecumenical mission to the world. Common faith in Jesus Christ has the possibility of becoming evident in common actions and in supporting common causes.
The life and witness that Gregory the Great shared with Augustine led to the success of the Roman mission to Kent. In sum, the fearfulness that leads to the cul-de-sacs of managerialism should be set aside. Instead, Church leadership should live according to the practical witness of the Kentish missionaries of times past, and of the bishops, priests and laity working through IARCCUM in the current time.
Watch the full lecture below:
Please find attached the lecture.