Beyond Imagination: “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ” (1963) and the Reinvention of Canadian Anglicanism

This essay explores “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence
in the Body of Christ” (MRI), an influential document issued in
1963 at the close of the Anglican Congress in Toronto. A foundational
statement on mission and communion, MRI inspired both
the structures and ethos of contemporary Anglicanism. However,
the production of this imagined global community unwittingly
contributed to the decline of Anglicanism in Canada. Drawing
from Charles Taylor and Benedict Anderson, this essay will trace
the reinvention of Anglicanism in Canada from the religious wing
of the British Empire to a modern vision of a worldwide communion
that nonetheless depended on the very structures and power
relations it sought to replace. As such, the decline of Anglicanism
in Canada was not the product of outside forces like secularism as
much as the result of a theology that failed to engage the issues
facing everyday Canadians.

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