Eva M. Pascal, Michèle Sigg, and Gina Zurlo recently contributed a chapter “Indigenous and Vernacular Christianity” in the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Christianity, a collection of essays exploring a range of topics relating to the spread and influence of World Christianity. Their chapter examines indigenous and vernacular Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They argue that indigenous and vernacular Christianity is a primary component in the global expansion of Christianity. The volume is edited by Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of World Christianity and of History at Yale University, and Michael McClymond, Professor of Modern Christianity at Saint Louis University. You can find the book here.
Daewon Moon, Doctoral Fellow at the CGCM, was recently appointed as a visiting researcher at the Korea Research Institute for Mission (KRIM). He is involved in a project to develop training materials for Korean missionary candidates under the leadership of the renowned Korean missiologist Dr. Steve Moon, who is contributing editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Daewon is also supporting KRIM’s annual missiological forum and seminar. Following a year and a half of mission work at International Leadership University in Burundi, he and his family have temporarily relocated to Korea due to political instability in Burundi.
In her recent article, “Buddhist Monks and Christian Friars: Religious and Cultural Exchange in the Making of Buddhism,” Eva Pascal (PhD Candidate) demonstrated that the idea of Buddhism as a common religion across much of Asia, did not emerge in the 19th century as has been widely assumed. Instead, it was Spanish Franciscan Friars in the 16th century who, in their interactions with Buddhist monks in Thailand, China, and Japan recognized a common core. The Franciscans not only perceived a single founder behind the various names used for the Buddha in Asia, they also recognized the features of “religion.” In other words, Franciscans concluded that Buddhist monks were not merely superstitious–the label associated with heathen ideas. Instead, they began to use the term “religion” for Buddhist beliefs and practices, because the Franciscans recognized monks as their counterparts. Buddhist monks lived in monastic communities, adhered to a life of voluntary poverty, took vows of chastity, preached obedience to commandments, and the like. The parallels led the Franciscan missionaries to introduce Buddhism to the West as a religion, a total system comparable to Christianity.
On April 2, Laura Chevalier, Doctoral Fellow at the CGCM, presented a paper at the Northeast meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS) in Flushing, NY. In her paper entitled “Midwives and Mamas of the Local Church: Historical Case Studies of Women in Mission,” Chevalier looked at the life writing of two twentieth century evangelical missionaries: Lillian Trasher and Dr. Helen Roseveare. She drew out five themes regarding the local church and mission in their writings and concluded by discussing what these women’s lives and writings bring to bear on evangelical mission today. The conference brought together a broad spectrum of people in the evangelical community including mission scholars and practitioners, pastors, and many lay leaders from a wide variety of denominations. Concurrent paper sessions offered in both Chinese and Spanish during the afternoon session highlights the attention to diversity by conference organizers and the diverse backgrounds of participants.
Sunday, March 20th, Father Vincent Machozi, A.A. was murdered for his work in documenting the human rights abuses that were happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Machozi had been a ThD student in Mission Studies and Ethics, but returned to Congo before completing the degree in hopes that he could speak out agains the atrocities that were being committed in eastern Congo.
A memorial service will be held at Boston University. For fuller coverage of the story, BU Today, Crux, and the Assumptionists have each published accounts of the heroic life and tragic death of Rev. Machozi.
Friday, March 18th, Boston University will host its second Assessment Symposium. Laura Chevalier (PhD Candidate) will represent the School of Theology, and present “E-Portfolio as an Assessment Tool in the School of Theology.” It is a tool Laura utilized in courses on mission as well as on spirituality.
The Handbook on Popular Spiritual Movements (PSM) in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia was a research project and publication owned by Trinity Theological College (TTC), Singapore, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Poon, Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia (CSCA). Boston University, through the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, was a supportive partner through the participation of Dr. Charles Farhadian (PhD 2000) as a co-editor, Dr. Dana Robert as a consulting editor, and the Drs. Septemmy Lakawa (ThD, 2011), Daryl Ireland (PhD 2015), and David Scott (PhD, 2013) as contributors to section III: Case Studies of Popular Spiritual Movements.
Soojin Chung was awarded a Research Grant to do further work on Pearl Sydenstriker Buck, a famous author from West Virginia. It is part of a larger project in which Chung is uncovering primary sources by female missionaries who worked during the post war period. She is particularly interested in how Pearl Buck and others served as missionaries and humanitarians who pioneered the transnational adoption movement.
Anicka Fast, a first-year student in Mission Studies at Boston University, received the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission’s study grant for 2015. Before moving from Montreal to Boston, Anicka worked with the Mennonite Central Committee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for three years. Anicka’s research interests include intercultural reconciliation and power balancing in the global church, Anabaptist missiology and ecclesiology, the history of the missionary encounter in the DR Congo, and African political theology. Her grant is in the amount of $2,865, and will be disbursed in May 2016. Anicka’s project title is, “Identity and Power in Mission: A Study of Cross-Cultural Relationships among North American and Congolese Mennonites.”
In the newly released Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century, Gina Zurlo explains how evangelicals are counted. In an age when statistics are despised as “saying anything you want,” Zurlo walks readers through the process of how the data is collected, analyzed, and interpreted so as to arrive at a reliable number of Evangelical Christians in the world. It is the only publication of its kind.
Zurlo is a PhD candidate at Boston University, and is writing her dissertation on David Barrett and Christian demography.