The American Academy of Religion has sponsored research into how the social composition and identity of Christians in India differs from that in the diaspora. The project is ongoing, but the second workshop convened on September 20th at Boston University to review and consider what has been learned thus far. Scholars from India and the United States, as well as a number of delegates from Greater Boston’s various Indian churches met together to hear and interact with the findings.
Thomas Thangaraj, from Boston University, offered the keynote address. In addition, Jesudas Athyal, a visiting researcher at the Center for Global Christianity & Mission, and Joshua Kalapati of Madras Christian College presented the project and led the conversation.
East Rock Institute is our partner in this project.
Here is the latest newsletter.
This newsletter includes an article by Hye Jin Lee about the project on page 6 but a link to the entire newsletter is included here for readers who want to get better acquainted with this organization.
In advance of Rev. Lisa Beth White’s visit to BUSTH on March 21 to give a seminar “How to Lead a Mission Trip,” she sent the following to help people considering participating to figure out where she’s coming from:
According to Robert Wuthnow, approximately 1.5 million American adults
leave the US each year on short term mission trips. Short term
mission trips have grown in popularity since the 1970s when a few
volunteers began traveling to participate in mission projects.
In 1997, I was an adult volunteer with U.M. ARMY (United Methodist
Action Reach Mission by Youth). Youth groups gather to build
wheelchair ramps, do yard work and light home repairs – and I was
hooked. I’ve worked with adult international trips, domestic youth
trips, and even local mission projects for upper elementary age
students. I stay involved in short term mission because people want
to make a difference, to put their faith to work, and I feel it is
important to help by guiding theological reflection on the practice of
short term mission.
My approach to teaching people how to lead short term mission is to
provide a framework for people to use in planning their own trip, and
to provoke thinking beyond the logistic issues of trips. Small group
discussion of case studies allows participants to begin thinking
theologically about short term mission.
The only other thing I’d add is that when I got involved in STM, I
only saw it from the church viewpoint – that STM was beneficial to
both the recipients and as a tool for spiritual growth for the
travelers. But when I started reading the literature on STM, it
became clear that there are many critical issues to think carefully
about – dependency, objectifying the poor, power and privilege,
mutuality in mission, etc. I hope that my work will bridge the STM
movement in the local church and the critical reflection of the
academy in such a way that the practice of short term mission can be a
more thoughtful process to the benefit of the global church.
Two articles about the ERI and CGCM collaboration appeared in the October 2012 issue of ERI’s newsletter. Both are included here.
Three faculty members–Drs. Robert, Daneel, and Thangaraj–and seven students attended the 2012 ASM Eastern Fellowship last weekend. Daewon Moon filed the following report:
The 2012 ASM Eastern Fellowship was held at the Maryknoll Sisters
Center in Maryknoll, New York on November 2–3, with the theme
“Classics of Mission Spirituality.” STH alum, Prof. Ben Hartley of Palmer Seminary, presided.
Dr. Rady Roldan-Figueroa of Boston University gave his presentation on
the spirituality of Bartholome de Las Casas (1484–1566), a Dominican
missionary and social reformer in the Americas. Roldan-Figueroa
discussed the significance of Las Casas’ treatise “De unico vocationis
modo” (“On the Only Way of Conversion”), focusing on distinctive
characteristics of sixteenth-century Spanish spirituality in the
Observance movement within the religious orders.
Sister Claudette LaVerdiere of the Maryknoll Sisters presented her
research on the spirituality of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers (1882–1955),
the founder of the Maryknoll order. While a student at Smith College
in 1904, Mary Josephine organized a Mission Study Club for Catholic
students. Her recognition of women’s power for mission significantly
contributed to the formation of the Maryknoll Sisters, which sent its
first missionary sisters to China in 1921. Mother Mary Joseph’s focus
on cultivating character became an integral part of the spirituality
of the Maryknolls, who adopted the motto “Making God’s love visible.”
Dr. Grace May of City Seminary of New York gave a talk on Margaret
Emma Barber (1866–1929), a missionary to China who was a spiritual
mentor of Watchman Nee, the most influential leader in the Chinese
house church movement. Strongly influenced by the Keswick holiness
movement in England, Barber emphasized the discipleship training of
indigenous people, particularly the training of local “Bible women” to
reach out other women.
Dana Robert and Rady Roldan-Figueroa are in Costa Rica this week attending the Latin American Theological Fellowship’s CLADE V conference. The purpose of the conference is to pull together a diverse group of Christians from churches, agencies, institutions and movements in Latin America and the Caribbean for discussion and reflection. The theme for this conference is: “Following Jesus in God’s Kingdom of Life. Guide us, Holy Spirit!” Prof. Robert will be participating on a panel of friends from outside Latin America who will share their own reflections on what they have heard. BUSTH doctoral student Ruth Padilla DeBorst is the group’s general secretary.
The BU School of Public Health & Center for Global Health & Development will hose Public Health Forum on Feb. 8th, 12 am – 1pm. With the theme “Decent Care: Option or Necessity?”, Rev. Ted Karpf will deliver a speech on a human approach to health and health care. The location for this event is BUMC Main Instructional Building, Room L-112. For more information, please see the flyer: Ted Karpf-Public Health Forum
The Future of Discipline of Missiology: 2nd Year of Three-Year Process
The American Society of Missiology is engaged in a three-year process to study the future of the discipline of missiology. For the 2nd year of the process, the ASM invites you to submit a proposal for writing an essay.
Persons are invited to submit a proposal of 250-300 words in length (along with a 30 word bio) that indicates how they would develop an argument which addresses ONE of the four issues listed below. The eventual essay to be written should be 12-15 pages in length (double-space)—between 4,000 to 5,000 words. Proposals for consideration of being invited to write an essay should be submitted by January 31, 2012 to Craig Van Gelder at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Persons selected to write essays will be notified by February 15, 2012. Final essays are due by June 1, 2012 and will be posted in the ASM website prior to the 2012 annual meeting. These essays will serve as the materials for discussion on Sunday morning at this year’s 2012 conference.
Four Issues to Explore from 2011 Meeting
Issue #1: Missiology as a Theological Discipline in the Academy
Is missiology a distinct discipline or more a cluster of disciplines? What difference, if any does this make?
What are its patterns of development of missiology within the academy in recent decades—what shifts has it experienced (expansion, contraction, re-direction)?
Currently, what is the place of missiology within the academy, in general, and the theological academy, in particular? What should be its place?
Issue #2: Missiology in a Changing World Since World War II
What are the primary developments that have shaped or reshaped the discipline of missiology since World War II? How have these influences helped or hindered the discipline?
What are the primary contextual shifts and cultural realities that are currently influencing the future direction of missiology? How should missiology as a discipline seek to engage and address these influences?
What are the primary purposes should missiology should seek to serve in the 21st century?
Issue #3: Biblical, Theological, and Theoretical Perspectives
To what extent, if any, is there a missiological consensus that provides a core of understanding for missiology? Is the concept of a “core” even helpful? Why or why not?
What resources are available within biblical, theological, and theoretical perspectives to help missiology engage our pluralistic, multi-perspectival, and globalized world?
To what extent, if any, is a mission hermeneutic for reading scripture emerging? How does this discussion interface with the discipline of missiology?
Issue #4: Getting at the “American” in the American Society of Missiology?
To what extent does the ASM focus on the American context as a primary mission location? To what extent, if any, should it focus on this context?
In what ways, if any, have the increased patterns of immigration into Northern America shifted the challenges facing missiology and the ASM? How should these patterns, if at all, be reshaping the discipline as well as the focus of the ASM?
Where do congregations fit into the focus and work of missiology and the ASM? To what extent, if any, should they be seen as primary vehicles of mission for missiology and the ASM?
For more information, please visit the ASM website.
Orthodox Theological Schools/Seminaries in America & Their Role in the Global Missionary Movement
The Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology are sponsoring a missions conference on “Orthodox Theological Schools and Their Role in the Global Missionary Movement.”
Metropolitan John (Pelushi) of Korca, Albania, will offer the keynote address on “Orthodox Missions and the Resurrection of the Church of Albania” at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 17.
The conference continues on Friday, November 18, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Dr. Rev. Michael Oleksa, the former dean of St. Herman’s Seminary, noted author and a priest serving native Alaskan villages for the past 40 years, will open the day speaking on “St. Vladimir Seminary Graduates in Missions.” Fr. Luke A. Veronis, director of the Missions Institute, will present on the “Historical Connection of Holy Cross Graduates in Missions.”
Fr. Themi Adamopoulo, an Australian Greek priest who was a former rock ’n’ roll musician whose band played with the Rolling Stones back in the 1960s, will talk about his journey from atheist rocker to a person of faith to becoming a missionary serving the poorest of the poor. He has been serving in Africa for the past 20 years, currently in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world.
Fr. Martin Ritsi, the executive director for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), together with his wife, Presbytera Renee, will offer a presentation on their journey from Holy Cross, to a decade of service in Kenya and Albania, to now serving at the OCMC.
The conference will conclude with a panel discussion among the guest speakers discussing how Orthodox seminaries in theUnited States can better prepare people to serve in the mission field, and how the churches can better support the efforts to proclaim the gospel throughout the world.
The Missions Institute, which is sponsoring the conference, has brought these speakers to the HC/HC campus in Brookline, Mass., as a part of its annual Missions Week. Each speaker will be present on campus November 14-18, preaching each evening in the school chapel, speaking in classes throughout the week, and concluding with the Missions Conference.
For more information, see the flyer: Missions Week Flyer 3
Dr. Nathan Goto has published a new book called Mission Education transforms sub-Saharan Indigenous African People. This book has added to the reservoir of information and knowledge about the work and legacy of missionaries in Sub-Saharan Africa. By writing this Book, Dr Goto has exhorted the Christian Church and its adherents to know where we came from and where we
are and where we going. His meticulous attention to detail in telling the story, and ability to discern hidden meaning through research and analysis are some of the skills evident in this work. It is a good book to anyone with thirst and hunger for the history and legacy of the Christian Church in Sub-Saharan Africa.