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Partnership as Mission. Essays in Memory of Ellie Johnson
Edited by: Kenneth Gray and Maylanne Maybee. Foreword by James Boyle.
Copyright 2023 Wipf and Stock Publishers

Review submitted by the Rev. Margaret Marquardt


This timely book speaks to all that we can continue to work towards in partnerships within the Anglican Church of Canada and in all our relationships locally and worldwide. It honours Dr. Ellie Johnson who was formative in the deepening of this understanding of partnership and justice and reconciliation in the 1980's, into the 2000's.

Surrounding stories of Ellie's life are essays from Canadian Anglicans from across the country reflecting on what partnerships look like ecumenically, in interfaith relationships, in justice work, in ecological sustainability, and what living into reconciliation means for today.

Summing up Ellie's life and work, Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) Primate, Linda Nicholls writes:

"Though the leadership and witness of one lay woman, Ellie Johnson, we see how the promise of 'mutuality and interdependence' (Toronto Congress 1963) has taken root, transforming the life of the Anglican Church of Canada, locally and globally, Ellie embodied that transformation and launched our Church on a journey that continues today. These essays are an encouragement and prophetic call born from her witness."

I had the privilege of meeting Ellie when I served with the ACC's National Program Committee in the late 80's, at the Anglican Encounter in Brazil 1992, and into her support and leadership of the Healing Fund following Primate Michael Peers apology to Anglican Indigenous people regarding our church's role with Residential Schools.

Ellie gave her delightful presence and creativity to all her work. This book has so many thoughtful stories of Ellie's leadership. What is so clear is that her commitment was about working in partnership with others in faithfulness to Christ, in living the calling of the church to address unjust structures that hurt God's creation and God's people.

Throughout the book, with insight and stories from such a great diversity of people, what shines out is the desire of the church to live out the call to transformation towards justice and ecological sustainable practices as we live into the depth of reconciliation with Indigenous people, and in all the ways we are called to tread gently on this beloved creation God has given us to care for.

In today's reality of polarization between differing grouping and fixed ideologies, there is  often impatience in hearing the stories of others. This book, with its' delightful insights from such a diverse community, is so encouraging, as is Ellie's story of a model of listening and leadership for transformative change.

It isn't often that we highlight the work and leadership of a lay woman. This in itself is so important in our story as the Anglican Church of Canada. What deepens this, and Ellie, I believe would clearly speak to this, is that all she desired was for the church to live out its prophetic call to live justice and change society to live into honouring God's Beloved Community. That this book, in all the stories and essays, holds this as central, honours Ellie in the best way possible, and in this we are encouraged to be justice bearers together, living the call of Christ to change the world, that all might have a place at The Table.

The books shows what can be accomplished when we choose to hunger and thirst for the world God intends for us to live which has a place for all.