Saturday, 4 August 2012

Partnership House and the 'end of Western Mission'

I used to work in Partnership House in Waterloo,  London, the 'headquarters' of the Church Mission Society CMS. The local post office used to call it 'Go Forth House' because of the stone inscription across the doorway.  It was the Great Commission according to Mark 16:15  (NEV)
Now the site on 157 Waterloo Road is empty air as it has been knocked down and is being built on .  CMS moved to Oxford back in in 2008.

After being sold,  Partnership House was all boarded up (with squatters living in) until it was finally knocked down.  I travelled past on quite a  few occasions and it looked like Western Mission Agencies (WMA) had indeed shut up shop.  

Some have suggested that mission ended in the 20th century.  People like Vishal Mangalwadi  have suggested we have reached the end of Christendom model and Western Mission. 

But there has been a Global shift. In Church terms the Global North may indeed have been squeezed and shrinking,  but the Global Balloon is expanding in the South.   South America, Africa and Asia are where the church is growing and are becoming the new centres of mission. Mission is no longer from the 'West to the Rest' but (as in the title of a book by Michael Nazir-Ali) it is  'Everywhere to Everywhere'

Someone sent some pictures to us in CMS which showed PH in the process of being deconstructed  (14 June 2012) 

I thought you might be interested in the attached Pictures of the former Church Mission Society HQ in Waterloo Road which has been bricked up for sometime and was covered in Scaffolding whilst they demolished it.
However I remembered the Phrase above the entrance from Mark 16:15. Well, today I had my Camera for another reason and happened to go that way and they are obviously down to the last part of the entrance/chapel and have uncovered it ready for final demolition.
I always thought it was a pity that this should go and not be listed /moved to another location somehow, but then it was a 1960's office block..... Still I took a couple of poignant pictures of the verse.

Yes it is in some ways poignant, but as I have blogged beforehand.  it may be that the Institution is being replaced by a new sense of movement and community. The Good News is still around to be proclaimed to the whole of creation......  


Shin Yong said...

Great memories of the time at partnership hse n with the people there! hehe serious discussions in theology, Sandwiches opp the street, Crowther hall , people in missions n exchanges great humour from staff of partnership hse and of course Africa team ... it makes a wonderful difference in my journeying...n it need to die in order to live again..may the missions continues..SY

pippasoundy said...

I never saw Partnership House and obviously never will. Just returned from a visit to rural France where I found 21st century missionaries, some British, some French. Jesus is breaking out all over again and the call to give up everything and follow him is the same.