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.

CGCM Notes: February 2023

By driMarch 23rd, 2023in CGCM Notes

In 2001, Marthinus L. Daneel and I founded the Center for Global Christianity and Mission. One of its key purposes at the time was to support a Theological Education by Extension program connected with the religiously-based tree-planting and environmental movement the Zimbabwean Institute of Religious Research and Ecological Conservation (ZIRRCON). Our TEE program not only taught such traditional subjects as biblical studies and contextual theology, but we also conducted reflection on ecological ethics with members of African Initiated Churches in rural Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe. The TEE program accompanied an innovative earthkeeping movement that included tree-planting Eucharists with Christians, ancestral veneration tree-planting ceremonies for Traditionalists, gully reclamation projects, women’s earth care groups, and arbor days at public schools. Over a fifteen-year period, we grew and planted hundreds of thousands of trees each year.

Since the 1990s, when Prof. Daneel’s two books on African Earthkeepers were published, commitment to earth care has proliferated in multiple directions, including as a priority for Christian mission. The Center has sustained its interest in African earthkeeping through our website Old and New in Shona Religion and through the innovative scholarship of Visiting Researcher the Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma. 2023 is proving to be a watershed year for conferences on mission, world Christianity, and ecology. Conferences on World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Yale-Edinburgh Group, and the Korean Global Mission Leaders’ Forum (KGMLF) under the leadership of Research Professor Jonathan Bonk  all concern climate change and World Christianity, mission and ecology, and similar urgent global issues.

Center faculty, researchers, and students will be represented at all three conferences. We look forward to a stimulating year of research on World Christianity, ecology, and mission, an intersection of priorities that was a founding vision for the Center for Global Christianity and Mission over twenty years ago.

Dana L. Robert
Director, CGCM

CGCM Notes: January 2023

By driMarch 23rd, 2023in CGCM Notes

As we look out over 2023, an exciting year of teaching and research lie ahead. The spring term always welcomes the annual Costas Consultation, an ecumenical gathering of faculty and students from the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium, to reflect on important issues related to Christian mission and ecumenism. This year the consultation will be on March 21, at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, on the topic “Christianity in China Today.” Speakers will include Prof. Xiyi Kevin Yao, Dr. Xiaoli Yang, and Dr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P.

The Costas Consultation has been held annually for over 30 years. It is named after the former dean of Andover-Newton Theological School, Dr. Orlando E. Costas (1942-1987).  Dean Costas was an active member of the BTI Faculty Mission and Ecumenism Committee. He and I both came to Boston in 1984, he to become the first Hispanic dean of a North American Seminary, and I as a young mission professor at the Boston University School of Theology. As fellow missiologists, we soon became colleagues and friends. Orlando sent ANTS students to BUSTH for courses in world Christianity and mission history, and I encouraged STH students to study mission theology with him. After Dr. Costas tragically died of stomach cancer, subsequently the committee named our annual consultation after him. His insights about mission originating “outside the gates” prefigured the contemporary focus on “mission from the margins” as both a source of vitality and of liberation. As a Puerto Rican, Orlando Costas built bridges between Anglo and Latino cultures. With Spanish the #1 Christian language in the world, the efforts of Dr. Costas to link linguistic communities remains a key priority for mission today.

In addition to the annual Costas Consultation, another exciting pedagogical opportunity is the speaker series connected with the class in Global Christianity I am co-teaching with Professor Todd Johnson of Gordon Conwell Theological School. Our class on Tuesday afternoons will combine Dr. Johnson’s expertise in demography and contemporary trends with my historical frameworks and interest in mission as public theology. Guest speakers will include Dr. Paul Cha, author of Balancing Communities: Nation, State, and Protestant Christianity in Korea, 1884-1942; Dr. Kyama Mugambi, author of A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya; Tajik linguist and expert in Sogdian Christianity Dr. Barakatullo Ashurov; and Romanian Orthodox ecumenical peace activist Dr. Marian Simion.

We welcome an engaging and exciting semester of teaching and research here at the Boston University School of Theology. Please join us!

Dana L. Robert
Director, CGCM

Spreading the Gospel: Christian Posters in Early 20th Century China

Between 1919 and 1949, posters were the most common Christian visual imagery in China. They were printed by the millions and hung in tea rooms, on city walls, and on temple gates. Posters were put up in houses and churches; they were unfolded for street evangelism. They were extremely popular because they were aesthetically pleasing, symbolically rich, yet easy to understand. Unlike theological treatises written by Chinese theologians, these images were designed by laypeople and intended for popular consumption. In this lecture, Daryl Ireland (Boston University) will showcase some of the 700 Chinese Protestant and Catholic posters he has located, and explain why they are changing the way we think about Chinese Christianity.

This event will be in-person. Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.

Livestream will be available.

Daryl Ireland is a Research Assistant Professor of Mission at Boston University, where he focuses on the history of Christianity in Asia, as well as the intersection of International Development and Faith. He is the author of John Song: Modern Chinese Christianity and the Making of a New Man (2020). His book, Visions of Salvation: Chinese Christian Posters in an Age of Revolution will be published in April.

To reserve a spot, click here.


a poster with yellow background and an image of a Chinese christian poster details the event


‘Women in World Christianity: Building and Sustaining a Global Movement’

On March 1, 2023, Wednesday, 16.00 GMT, Dr. Gina Zurlo will speak on 'Women in World Christianity: Building and Sustaining a Global Movement.'

The seminar will take place at the Faculty of Divinity, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP and on Zoom.

You are very welcome to join.


This seminar will discuss findings from Dr. Zurlo’s recent findings from her Women in World Christianity Project, which was the first demographic assessment of Christianity down to the denominational level in every country of the world. World Christianity is a women’s movement because it was built and is sustained by women, and the majority of its members, participants, and affiliates are women. It is anticipated women will continue this work, likely longer than men, since women’s religious commitment appears to remain high. Christianity is also continuing its global southward shift, with 77% of all Christians likely to live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania by the year 2050. This combination means that women in the global South will take on increasingly visible leadership roles in the church, despite the barriers they face, grounded by their faith and in service to their present communities and the next generations. 


Gina A. Zurlo holds a Ph.D. in History and Hermeneutics from Boston University School of Theology (2017). She is the Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA) and Visiting Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. She is the co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia, 3rd edition (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and co-editor of the World Christian Database (Brill). She has recently authored three books: Global Christianity: A Guide to the World’s Largest Religion from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (Zondervan, 2022); Women in World Christianity: Building and Sustaining a Global Movement (Wiley-Blackwell, 2023); and From Nairobi to the World: David B. Barrett and the Re-Imagining of World Christianity (Brill, 2023). She was named one of the BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 for her work in quantifying religion worldwide.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 931 3650 8607
Passcode: 568920

If you plan to attend, please email

EAST-WEST SCHOLARS IN DIALOGUE: Ricci Institute Research Seminar Series

By AbhishekFebruary 8th, 2023in China, Research

The Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at Boston College presents two research seminars in February 2023, which will be delivered by the two Luce postdoctoral fellows in residence during the spring semester. Based on different historical studies, the two presentations will offer an opportunity for academic exchange among scholars today who are interested in the study of the history of Christianity in China and in the larger historical context of modern global history. The seminars are free and open to faculty and students at Boston College, and all interested scholars from other institutions.

More details here...