A Nottingham priest who has pioneered interfaith relations in Pakistan and the UK and a passionate advocate of global theology – both former CMS mission partners – have been honoured by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Archbishop Justin presented the Rev Graham Burton with the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation “for working for peace between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan for twelve years and in Nottingham for twenty-five years”.
The Rt Rev Dr Graham Kings was honoured with the Cross of St Augustine “for services to the Anglican Communion, for his outstanding work in mission and theology for the global South”.
Graham and Gillian Burton served in Pakistan with CMS for 12 years before returning to the UK in 1992, when Graham was made priest in charge of the parish of Hyson Green and Forest Fields.
In friendship with a local imam, Dr Musharraf Hussein, and the experience of his years in Pakistan, Graham co-led many initiatives in bringing faiths together for the good of the local community.
The citation further states: “Following ‘9/11’, they founded ‘Faiths in Action’, still working today, bringing together local people of different faiths. For his part, Musharraf was appointed OBE. Seventeen years ago Graham founded the Rainbow Project, initially aimed at enabling leadership from within the minority ethnic community, fighting racism and encouraging the church to embrace ethnic and cultural diversity in its mission and ministry and engage with community faith diversity.
“He has played a significant role in bringing the community to work together as people of different faiths for understanding, justice and change.
“Hundreds of Christians and Muslims have learnt to live well alongside one another through his work.”
Also honoured was Graham Kings. He and his wife Alison were mission partners in Kenya, based at St Andrew's Theological Institute, Kabare from 1984-1991. Graham then set up the Henry Martyn Centre for the Study of Mission and World Christianity (now the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide).
He later became Bishop of Sherborne, and then, in a partnership between CMS, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Durham University, Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion.
This role aimed to foreground the contributions of theologians from the global south. The citation says, “Bishop Graham worked tirelessly to achieve this, organising conferences around the world (in Egypt, India, Fiji, Jerusalem and Brazil), arranging regular seminars in Durham and London and creating a website with a wealth of papers and resources.” It praises his “unique contribution to the Anglican Communion”.
The project evolved into Theological Education for Mission in the Anglican Communion under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Office and led by Dr Muthuraj Swamy, the current director of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide.
Previously, several other former CMS mission partners have been honoured including last year the Rev Canon Joanna Udal (Sudan) for her outstanding contribution to the Anglican Communion; in 2017 the Rev Canon Adrian Chatfield (South Africa) and in the Archbishop’s first set of expanded Lambeth Awards in 2016, Deaconess Susan Essam (Nigeria) and the Rev Pamela Cooper (Japan).
The awards ceremony took place on 4 April 2019 at Lambeth Palace.