Audenshaw Foundation Archive
Date range: 1945-1987
This archive is testament to the work of Mark Gibbs (1920-86), a Manchester schoolmaster, lifelong advocate of the ministry of the laity, and co-author with T. Ralph Morton of God's Frozen People: A Book for and about Ordinary Christians (1964) and God's Lively People: Christians in Tomorrow's World (1971).
In 1964 Gibbs founded the Audenshaw Foundation to 'encourage the support, education and development of the laity – in all the churches and outside them – as they struggle to understand and apply the Christian faith in the everyday world of today and tomorrow.' The Foundation was located initially at Audenshaw, east of Manchester, then at neighbouring Denton and finally at Muker in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. Gibbs directed the Foundation for some twenty years but, lacking his singular energy and focus, it closed not long after his death.
In addition to Gibbs’s personal papers the archive contains records of the Foundation, and other lay movements with which he was associated such as the Christian Frontier Council, Vesper Society of San Leandro in California, and the International Committee of the German Protestant Kirchentag, the biennial Evangelical Congress (Gibbs served as chair of the committee from 1958 to 1978).
Material comprises correspondence, financial and administrative papers, reports, typescript and printed articles, and newspaper cuttings concerning the role of the laity in the Churches. There are also runs of periodicals such as The Christian News-Letter and Frontier.
Unpublished catalogue available via the Special Collections reading rooms.
See also Nelvin Vos, Daniel Pryfogle and Melvin George, Faith in the World: Mark Gibbs and Vesper Society, Being God’s Lively People (San Francisco: Vesper Society, 2009).
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