News of the extended network of faculty, alumni, students, visiting researchers, and mission partners is regularly updated, and some of the big ideas or major events in Global Christianity are covered in the CGCM News.

April 2023

By driMay 18th, 2023in CGCM Notes

On March 24, half a dozen students and faculty from the CGCM attended two online webinars on the future of mission cooperation. Sponsored by the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches, the webinars were part of the research program to commemorate the centennial of the International Missionary Council in 2021. Our Center has been part of this important global research network for two years. As one of fifteen participating centers from around the world, the CGCM has been responsible for investigating the shape of mission cooperation in the North American region. The webinars on Friday continued the discussion by examining “phase two” reports from research centers in China, India, Kenya, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and other locations.

Mission thinkers from all the continents attended the webinars. Although much of the time was spent in formal presentations about book projects (including our own forthcoming volume Creative Collaborations—the subject of a future CGCM News post!), several insights became the subject of lively discussion. One is the transnational, networking nature of mission today. Even though the study process was undertaken by fifteen regional centers, it has been impossible to confine studies of mission to a single region without considering their transnational intersections. To study mission today requires focusing on networks rather than a static definition of mission organizations or the nation-state.

A second topic that elicited lively discussion was the nature and meaning of decolonization as a shared value for mission today and in the future. What, exactly, is the meaning of decolonization? Similar to the problem of studying the relationship between mission and colonialism, the study of mission and decolonization needs to be context specific or else it risks re-imposing hegemonic frameworks on those whose historic struggles with colonizing powers are immediate and personal. Who is talking about decolonization, and what does it mean in different contexts? Decolonization in South Africa means something different than decolonization among gay Roman Catholics in San Francisco, and yet the language is used to describe realities in both places. As decolonization becomes a frequently-employed framework for the study of mission, discussion about its meaning needs to continue. As Ph.D. candidate Allison Kach-Yawnghwe noted, the Canadian partners with whom she works say that insisting on an overarching definition of decolonization takes away local control over their own conversations and realities.

A third interesting topic that was surfaced in the webinars was the use of the concept “mission from the margins.” An idea popularized by the 2013 CWME document Together Towards Life, the concept of mission from the margins has been used to underscore that creativity and energy in Christian mission come from those who have historically been marginalized—especially those in the Global South.  In our research into mission partnerships involving North Americans, however, we have seen pushback against the idea by those in the Global South who say they are in the center of mission, not the margins. With Christianity as a largely nonwestern religion today, what is the continued usefulness of the concept “mission from the margins”? Who and what are the margins, in a networked approach to mission?[1]

One takeaway from the webinars is that the way we talk about mission needs to be refined and redefined to fit changing contexts. It is exciting that the CGCM participates in these discussions. Let the conversations continue!

Dana L. Robert
CGCM Director

[1] For useful discussion of marginality as a missiological concept, including a distinction between active and passive marginality, or between chosen and imposed marginality, see chapter 6 in Anthony J. Gittins, CSSp, Courage and Conviction: Unpretentious Christianity (Liturgical Press, 2018), pp. 79-94.

Between Hindu and Christian

Kerry P. C. San Chirico, who intersected with the Center for Global Christianity and Mission when he was a PhD student at Boston College, recently published, Between Hindu and Christian: Khrist Bhaktas, Catholics, and the Negotiation of Devotion in Banaras (OUP, 2023). Among others, he specifically thanks Dana L. Robert for her role in writing the book.

Online Conference on Women’s Intercultural Leadership

Dr. Leanne Dzubinski and Dr. Evelyn Hibbert are organizing an online conference on Women's Intercultural Leadership.
Women's Intercultural Leadership Conference (online) - June 2nd/3rd this year.
The aim of the conference is not just to learn from the presenters but also from all participants' experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to receive and comment on all the papers and video presentations. Sessions will also be recorded so that attendees can still view and interact even when the time does not suit them. We aim to promote discussion through this combination of face-to-face and online interaction.
Please pass the link on to anyone who might be interested in participating:

Dr. Rady Roldan-Figueroa will hold the Rev. Robert Randall Distinguished Professorship in Christian Culture

By AbhishekApril 1st, 2023in Faculty Associates

Dr. Rady Roldan-Figueroa, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity at Boston University School of Theology, and a CGCM Faculty Associate will be Rev. Robert Randall Distinguished Professor in Christian Culture in the fall.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Randall Professorship is held by a recognized scholar whose work concentrates on an understanding of culture that embodies a Christian view of human achievement. The selected individual​ contributes​ to undergraduate instruction in the theology, philosophy, history, literature, or social sciences departments, directs student research, and delivers public lectures.


The Korean Church of Boston 70th Anniversary Symposium

The Korean Church of Boston (PCUSA) looks back on the past as we welcome our 70th anniversary in 2023 as an immigrant church planted in the United States, and we thank God for God's great love bestowed upon us. Therefore, we have prepared events to commemorate our 70th anniversary under the title "Gratitude," and a meaningful symposium as below:

Two Tales of a City upon a Hill:
- Unlocking the Past for a Better Future Together:
Stories of Native Americans & Korean American Churches

2023. 4.24-26
The Korean Church of Boston (PCUSA)
32 Harvard St. Brookline, MA 02445

Dr. Eunil David Cho, a CGCM faculty affiliate, will be speaking. 

More details on the event here.

More on the Korean Diaspora Project here.