Ecclesiastical History Society: The Church in Sickness and in Health

Following the postponement of its 2020 summer conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ecclesiastical History Society invites articles for a peer-reviewed volume of Studies in Church History on the Church in Sickness and in Health.

From the earliest times, the Church has cared for the sick and the health of society both in a physical and spiritual sense. Anointing and praying for the sick was combined with medical care for the afflicted. The intercession of the Virgin Mary, St. Roch, and St. Sebastian, for example, was sought to protect the faithful from plague, while further saints offered hope against other diseases. Religious foundations such as leper and plague hospitals cared for the diseased but also isolated them to protect the health of society. The institutionalisation of the Church's care for the sick led to the foundation of hospitals and medical schools. Leading London hospitals, such as Bart's and St. Thomas's, developed from medieval monastic foundations and today the Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of healthcare.

In spite of the Church's concern for the sick, from the Early Church to the present there have been tensions between medicine and religion, the balance between the will of God and scientific intervention. For some Churches being a doctor was regarded as being incompatible with being a minister. This uneasy relationship can be seen in the resistance of some faiths to certain medical procedures and research (for example STEM-cells, cloning, genetic manipulation of embryos).

Alongside physical health, the Church has been concerned with spiritual health and salvation. The Church has rituals to restore the spiritual health of some, such as exorcism to banish demons from the afflicted. Disease was also used metaphorically to convey the threat to the spiritual well-being of the Church and Christendom, particularly portraying heresy as a plague that threatened the faithful.

Papers are invited that consider the place of the Church in sickness and in health across confessions from the Early Church to the present day. Possible themes, may include but are not restricted, to the following:

  • The Church and disease; plagues and pandemics
  • Visiting the sick
  • The Church and medicine; clergy and physicians
  • Religious institutions and medical care
  • Medicine and Christian missions
  • Hospital chaplains
  • The Church and medical research and science
  • Religious belief and (the rejection of) medical intervention
  • The Church and spiritual health
  • Hospices

Please submit proposals by 15 October 2020 using the form on our website: Full papers will need to be submitted by end of January 2021. For any queries, please contact Dr. Tim Grass at

CGCM Faculty Associate Jeremy Menchik Receives Tenure

Professor Jeremy Menchik at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies has just been promoted to Associate Professor, with tenure. He studies comparative politics, focusing on the role of religion in politics and civil society, including Muslim societies in Indonesia, global Christian missionary activity, and Wilsonianism. He has authored a book, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance without Liberalism (2016), which won the International Studies Association’s award for best book on religion and international relations, alongside three book chapters and numerous articles in top-tier journals, including International Studies Review. He is also a past winner of the Pardee School’s Gitner Family Prize for Faculty Excellence. Congratulations to Dr. Menchik, a CGCM faculty associate, for his promotion and accomplishments! 

Jeremy Menchik

STH Alum Recognized by World Council of Churches Journal

Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Joas Adiprasetya (STH '09), President of Jakarta Theological Seminary, for being recognized by The Ecumenical Review for producing the most downloaded paper of 2018-2019! Published in April 2019, Dr. Adiprasetya's article is entitled "A Compassionate Space-Making: Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Friendship." The article is co-authored with Nindyo Sasongko.
Notice of Congratulations to Joas Adiprasetya

Call for Papers Reminder: Special Issue of the Journal RELIGIONS

This Call for Papers is on behalf of the journal RELIGIONS, which is preparing a special issue entitled “Broadening Themes and Methodologies in the Research and Writing of History and Christian Mission Theologies.” We are looking for proposals that will address the following description:
This special issue seeks to explore the intersection between history, mission, and theology in the worldwide Christian movement. Essays are invited that identify and investigate new themes or methodologies in the research and writing of the history of Christianity and Christian mission theology. While recent scholarship has begun to diffuse the separation between the history of Christianity and the history of Christian mission, this special issue directly challenges the division between the history of Christianity, the history of Christian mission, and the history of theology. Rather than separate, the issue's focus argues that they are in constant conversation. Thus, the issue's central question might be framed as:  How have Christian mission activity and theological constructs shaped, reordered, deconstructed, etc., each other in particular periods and contexts?
For more information, you can follow the link,
If you are interested in submitting a paper, please send (1) a tentative title and (2) an abstract of no more than 500 words by June 15, 2020. Please send it to the following email address,
The second way is to submit an essay following the directions in the link provided above. Take note that given the current circumstances, RELIGION has extended the submission of manuscripts for 30 January 2021.  

Call for Papers: British Protestant Missionaries to Formosa

Sharing Spaces: British Protestant Missionaries to Formosa

In honor of missionary contributions to Taiwan, Changhua Christian Hospital Historical Museum collaborates with Asia Pacific Studies, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), Department of History, Tung Hai University, Department of History, National Chung Shing University, and Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) to host the 2020 International Conference on the History of Christian Protestant Missionaries. The conference is due to take place on the 24th – 25th September 2020, in the Changhua Christian Hospital International Education and Training Center (Changhua, Taiwan).

Subthemes include:

  1. Translating God: Missionary Linguistics
  2. Social Development and Missionary Values
  3. Medical Mission History and the Practice of Social Care
  4. Missionary Historiography in Taiwan
  5. Missionary Recordings of Environment Sustainability and Climate Change
  6. The History and Influence of Women Missionaries
  7. The Global and the Local: The Transnationalism of missionary movements
  8. Practice of historical Archive research

In addition to the topics mentioned above, other contributions related to the study of Taiwanese Christian culture, or the study of missionary history not limited to Taiwan, inter-denominational missionary issues of evangelicals, and contemporary challenges of Christian culture and history are all welcome.

Deadline for submissions is the 30 June 2020. For further details, please see the official Call for Papers or email the Conference Organiser.

Ukraine: Ministry Amid Extraordinary Circumstances

Zoom meeting of nine participants of worship service
Zoom Worship

Congregations the world over are trying to navigate worship and ministry amidst the covid-19 pandemic. In Ukraine, the church is also seeking to be faithful in the middle of the war. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, 13,000 soldiers and civilians have died and 1.5 million people have been displaced. John Calhoun, a Global Ministries missionary of the United Methodist Church, describes how Christians in Kyiv are navigating their local and global challenges.


John Parker Awarded Franciscan History Fellowship

John Parker was recently awarded a dissertation fellowship by the Academy of American Franciscan History. Mr. Parker's dissertation is tentatively entitled, "Libertas est Bonum Ordinis Superioris Omnium Bonorum: Perfect Obedientia in Epifanio Moirans O.F.M. cap's Iusta Defensio." He also has a chapter in the forthcoming, The Dominicans as Participants, Witnesses, and Critics of the Colonization of Early Latin America (Routledge).

Online Communion?

The United Methodist Church, like so many others, is searching for a way to be faithful to the marks of the Church: the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments. But how can that be done during social distancing? "Both Green Light, Red Light for Online Communion," explores how different people are responding. Note that several of those featured are connected to Boston University (Karen Westerfield Tucker, Ryan Danker, Bishop Oxnam, and Mark Stram).

Missional Responses to COVID-19

By driApril 27th, 2020in Announcements

Tuesday April 28 | 12:00 to 1:30pm


The coronavirus has presented a unique missional opportunity to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. UniteBoston has been reaching out to Christian leaders in Boston to see how they are doing and to listen for the “good news stories” that are emerging.

In this webinar, we will feature the stories of four church leaders who will be sharing how their church is caring for the body of Christ and missionally engaging, despite tight restrictions. Join us to hear real stories from church pastors and leaders from the front, followed by Q & A.