A former mission partner and general secretary, Bishop Harry Moore has turned 100 – a lifetime committed to the edges of mission
We celebrate a devoted life of service to God and to Church Mission Society as Rt Rev Harry Moore turns 100 on 2 November 2023.
A very happy hundredth birthday to Bishop Harry Moore, who was part of the leadership of CMS over many years, including leading the society as general secretary (CEO) from 1986 to 1990.
A life in mission
Born in 1923, Harry served as a CMS mission partner in Masjed Suleiman, Iran from 1957 to 1960. He was CMS Home Secretary from 1974 to 1980 and Executive Secretary from 1980 to 1983 before becoming the second bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf in 1983.
In 1986, Harry’s predecessor as general secretary, Simon Barrington-Ward, left to become Bishop of Coventry. The then president, David Bleakley, persuaded Harry to return to CMS to ‘steady the ship’ during a tough period.
The London base at Partnership House was being refurbished so a third of staff were based with USPG in Tufton Street. The society was facing a million pound deficit, and the Finance, Personnel and Communications Secretaries had all retired and new people were in post.
“He did what was needed,” says long-serving CMS mission partner and staff member Philip Bingham.
Philip vividly remembers a semon he heard Harry preach in Cambridge, before Philip was involved with CMS:
“He spoke from Isaiah 40:
“’Those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength. They shall rise up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.’
“At one point, he said that some mission agencies focus on short-term mission – on those ‘who shall run and not be weary’, and acknowledged that was their calling. Then he said, ‘At CMS we are looking for people who will walk and walk and walk, and not faint.’
“We still are.”
A call to the edges
CMS today is committed to helping people become disciples of Jesus “at the edges” – the edges of church, of our society and of our comfort zones. Bishop Harry’s first editorial as general secretary in a 1986 edition of the CMS magazine expresses a striking similar idea; though he uses the language of “crossing frontiers”.
“We are all called to discover the frontiers of mission around us right where we are”
Harry Moore (pictured during a visit to CMS in 2015)
It’s stirring stuff – and still worth reading – so we re-publish an extract below:
You are invited
When my appointment as general secretary was announced, one old and valued friend wrote to me of the urgency for CMS “to get its act together as a voluntary society working on the frontiers of the Church.”
Wherever CMS has made a real, appropriate and constructive contribution to the life of the Church (and it has done so in its long history) it has been working on the frontiers.
In the early days, geographical frontiers tested us. Today there are other frontiers of mission waiting to be crossed, (and my friend was right – there is some urgency in the matter).
Therefore, we are all called to discover the frontiers of mission around us right where we are and to give ourselves wholeheartedly to crossing those frontiers with Christ.
It is a daunting but exciting prospect and God does not waste his servants’ time. He has something for each one to do.
If one is called to the frontiers of prayer, let prayer be deep and costly. Let frontiers be crossed.
If another is called to the frontiers of our multi-faith society, let there be sustained effort to meet, understand and relate to people of other faiths. Let frontiers be crossed.
If yet another is called to go with Jesus across frontiers of political and economic life, let there be depth and perseverance in the search for God’s will. Let frontiers be crossed.
Let every member of CMS hear this call. Use the Society’s network for support and for sharing insights and experiences of God’s grace, that we may all benefit from what is done.
There is, before us, an immense opportunity in the service of our Lord as we hear the call to cross the frontiers of mission. The response to that call will take some far from Britain – there are still many ways in which service can be given; the response to that call will bring others to Britain to serve with the church here; but for most of us, our response to that call will bring us to the frontiers of mission right where we are.
I invite you in the name of the Lord to join us in a new phase of pressing on the frontiers of mission. The cost may be considerable, but the reward will be great, for at the frontiers we shall surely meet Jesus afresh.Harry Moore