The Desire of the Nations, Christendom signalled that "the rulers of the world have bowed before Christ's throne". Therefore:
The core idea of Christendom is ... intimately bound up with the church's mission.
Post-Christendom, however, the shadow of establishment can make Anglicanism appear almost reliant on privilege and the favour of the state. Remove these and is Anglicanism incapable of meaningfully witnessing to Crucified and Risen One?
Bernard Mizeki - commemorated today - suggests otherwise. Martyred in Southern Africa in 1896, he stands alongside other Anglican martyrs of the great age of mission in our liturgical calendars - on 3rd June the Martyrs of Uganda (1885-7), on 2nd September the Martyrs of Papua New Guinea (1901), on 20th September John Coleridge Patteson and companions (1871), and on 29th October James Hannington (1885).
These martyrs of Anglicanism's contribution to the Church's global mission embody our tradition's vocation to witness the Cross and Resurrection apart from Christendom. For post-Christendom Anglicanism the martyrs of the great age of mission hold a special relevance in two ways. Firstly, they encourage us not to be fearful of institutional powerlessness and minority status. Secondly, they demonstrate that growth and renewal flow from a conformity to the Cross.
Bernard Mizeki was led to the Sacrament of Baptism by priests from the Society of St John the Evangelist. His martyrdom has nourished the faith of generations of Anglicans in Southern Africa. Now his witness and that of his companions martyred during the great age of mission can encourage a hope-filled witness by Anglicans in the post-Christendom West.