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: https://ecclesiasticalhistorysociety.com/churchinsicknessandinhealth/ Full papers will need to be submitted by end of January 2021. For any queries, please contact Dr. Tim Grass at ehseditorial@gmail.com.

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, https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/Mission#editors
 
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, carlos_cardoza@baylor.edu
 
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.

Call for Contributors: World Christianity and COVID-19

WORLD CHRISTIANITY AND COVID-19: THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS ON SUFFERING
Editors: Chammah J. Kaunda, Atola Longkumer, Kenneth R. Ross Jooseup Keum, and Roderick Hewitt

The United Nations (U.N) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lamented, "We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations one that is killing people, spreading human suffering and upending people's lives. But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is attacking societies at their core." It was in March 2020 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a global pandemic. COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan in China in December 2019. The rates of infections have quickly accelerated in almost every corner of the world with over a million people already infected and nearly a hundred thousand people have lost their lives. This has prompted extraordinary forms of social and national distancing as one nation after another has gone into lockdown. Thewidespread travel restrictions and business closures are now threatening job securities and a global economic recession.

In just over 3 months, COVID-19 has altered the human social world. It is a contagious but also a social disease, a human social crisis. The COVID-19 has spread everywhere regardless of culture, class, religion, gender, sexuality, race or region. It is threatening relational rituals such as hugs, handshakes, kisses, and cultural ways of venerating the dead and bereavement consolations have been discarded to reduce the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is touching at the core of the problem of suffering, beyond epidemiological question, in various fields of spiritual, relational, cultural, funeral, families, economic, political, psychological, mental, and ethical which extend far beyond medical interests. There are stories of ups and downs of the struggle with faith and courage, hope and despair over all the world.

Many are re-asking the ancient question: where is God in COVID-19?This question has been asked, perhaps, from antiquity. It touches at the core of the “problem of suffering,” and various “theodicies. Traditionally, theologians and philosophers have largely engaged this problem in the form of theodicies, or justifications of God in the context of suffering. This is a question, however, which human beings have grappled with from time immemorial. The question now troubles the minds of millions of both believers and non-believers alike, who are dreading an ever-rising death toll, troubled by stories of an overwhelmed teams of physicians forced to triage patients, are restricted from visiting their sick in hospitals and cannot attend the funerals of their loved ones. Relationships have been quarantined. As one granddaughter lamented, “There are no funerals ... They buried him like that, without a funeral, without his loved ones, with just a blessing from the priest.”

Beyond the question of suffering, some populist preachers are proclaiming that coronavirus pandemic is a judgment from God for ubiquitous evil in the world. In a recent survey in the United States, it was discovered that more than four in 10 likely voters believe COVID-19 “is a wake-up call from God or a sign of coming judgment.”

This raises a pertinent question: what kind of God are we experiencing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic? Is it an impassable God who does not suffer? Or a passible God who is suffering with the world? Scholars have argued that God suffers and we all need a God who suffers, because God’s willingness to suffer with and for creation enables us to make our own suffering meaningful. In identifying with Christ in his suffering, human suffering can be made meaningful and appropriated into one’s being; this meaning-making also provides the impetus to stand in solidarity with others who suffer and to work against the oppression of all people. In his reflection, Chammah Kaunda maintains, “the widespread of coronavirus, its defiance of race, class, religion, region, gender, age and sexuality, more than any human struggle today, is teaching us to recognize our suffering faces in that of strangers and forcing us to make the most of taken for granted traces of our shared humanity with others. Indeed, the body of Christ is infected and dying with coronavirus. And we eagerly seeking for the mutual resurrection which includes all creation." As Marilyn Adams states, suffering is the “secure points of identification with the crucified God” who suffered on the cross so that, as Jurgen Moltmannconcludes, “no suffering can cut us off from this companionship of the God who suffers with us.”

The proposed volume will focus on current understandings and interpretations of suffering emerging in contexts of World Christianity. We are inviting reflections on the question of God and suffering and its praxis in the context of COVID-19. The reflections will be tailored to appeal to lay Christians, clergy, students, and scholars. We are inviting scholars, activists and clergy from various fields of inquiry such as systematic theology, pastoral theology, ecumenism, biblical, liturgical, preaching, missiology, diaconal, and interreligious dialogue. Contributors are encouraged to take a perspective such as gender, racism, sexuality, politics, family etc., on the question of COVID-19, God and suffering in contexts of World Christianity. This volume will also welcome papers interrogating some of the fundamentalist theologies that generally exist in contexts of World Christianity. For instance, many such churches see COVID-19 and other illness as a punishment from God.

We are then seeking to deepen our understandings of the meaning of suffering in the context of COVID-19 pandemic and the fresh ways it can contribute to rethinking human relations beyond race, class, geography, gender, creation (such climate change, animals etc), and sexuality and the like, what it means to be human in the context of suffering, the place of or justifications of God in suffering, human place in creation and the role of the church and other faith communities in re-articulating the theological meaning of suffering for today. In short, the volume will address the theological challenge of COVID-19 along the lines of, but not limited to:

Theology of life
Theology of creation
Human community
Gender and sexuality
Meaning of the Gospel
Health and healing
Economic justice
Prayer, Spiritual Warfare and intercession Liturgy and worship
Pastoral life
Ecclesiology
Funeral rituals
Leadership
Internationalism

The paper should be 5,000 words maximumincluding reference and bibliography.

Interested contributors should send their tentative title and abstracts to Chammah J. Kaunda (pastorchammah@gmail.com) and Atola Longkumer (atolalongkumer3@gmail.com)

REFERENCING STYLE

Footnote style (Chicago) 

30 May 2020

Abstract of 200 words (MAX)

1 October 2020

Submission of the full paper

30 September 2020

Submission to the publisher (possible publisher, Fortress or Routledge). There is also a possibility of channelling some papers into an academic journal platform such as Ecumenical Review of WCC

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Call for Papers: Broadening Themes and Methodologies in Research and Writing of History and Christian Mission Theologies

This is a “Call for Papers” 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, https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/Mission#editors

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, carlos_cardoza@baylor.edu

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.