Alumni Around the World
Year by year, advanced graduate students pass through the School of Theology and the Center for Global Christianity, then go out into the world to teach and do what they have been studying. As they move, the CGCM community grows in engagement through them. They are such a diverse group of people that no one description could possibly do the entire body justice. Instead, news and updates will be regularly provided. Cumulatively, their activities will create a portrait of the CGCM alumni community.
Soojin Chung successfully defended her dissertation on “The Role of Missionaries in the Inception of Transnational Adoption, 1949-1960.”
Friendship was the theme of this year’s meeting of the American Society of Missiology. Boston University was well-represented at the conference. Twelve alumni gave papers, Amos Yong was a keynote speaker, and Anicka Fast won the award for the best paper by a graduate student.
The United Methodist Racial/Ethnic History Research Grant was awarded to Dr. Ben Hartley, Associate Professor of Christian Mission, College of Christian Studies, George Fox University in Newberg, OR, for his project entitled “Re-Assessing Methodist—Native American Encounters in the Oregon Territory, 1834-1844.”
“It is with heartfelt gratitude that I receive this Racial/Ethnic History Grant from the General Commission on Archives and History,” said Hartley. “In recent years the UMC has had a number of services of worship at Annual Conference and General Conference gatherings to express corporate repentance and a desire for reconciliation between The United Methodist Church and Native Americans in North America. These need to be followed up with many other efforts if the work of reconciliation is to continue. I am absolutely convinced that to grow in one’s respect for Native American peoples one must grow in love for their history and the history that is shared among United Methodists and native peoples. I receive this research grant as a loving encouragement from United Methodist people to do so in my still-new home in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. I pray that my research will inspire others to learn the stories of Native American peoples wherever they may live. Thank you!”
The United Methodist Church is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding, which occurred with the 1968 merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren. Much of the celebration has been focused on the merger as an ecumenical achievement and a step forward in racial equality with the end of the segregated Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church. This union also had significant implications for mission. Among these were effects on the global structure of the new denomination, increased attention to issues around racial justice, and new organizations that were formed for mission work, including the creation of United Methodist Women. In a recent article, David Scott (’13) explores the history and changes effected in Methodist missions by the creation of the United Methodist Church.
What difference does another conference on Christian unity have on the way congregations actually relate to one another? Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, urged those gathered at the third Global Christian Forum in Bogata, Columbia to work out the consequences of what they had discovered together. Among others who shaped the experience, and raised the important questions at the meeting, were three Boston University alumni affiliated with the Center for Global Christianity and Mission: Casely Essamuah (’03), Ruth Padilla DeBorst (’16), and Gina Zurlo (’17). In combination with others, they are trying to understand how Global Christianity and Christian unity are held together. For a description of the meeting, Wes Granberg-Michaelson submitted an article describing “An Open Window On a Mutilated Body” in Sojourners magazine.
At the third gathering of the Global Christian Forum, Rev. Dr. Casely Essamuah (’03) was installed at the new Secretary. Surrounded by delegates from 64 nations and represented twenty two different Christian traditions, Essamuah was charged to lead the ecumenical organization that facilitates interaction among Christians globally.
At the third gathering of the Global Christian Forum, Gina A. Zurlo (’17) explained to the leaders of twenty two Christian traditions from 64 countries, some of the new factors that are reshaping the look of Christianity around the globe. She placed particular emphasis on the emergence of Independent Christian groups, whose identity is neither tied to Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant histories or theologies.
Douglas D. Tzan, STH alumnus and CGCM affiliate, was appointed Assistant Dean and Director of the Doctor of Ministry and Course of Study Programs and Assistant Professor of Church History and Mission at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church, and is currently Associate Pastor at Sykesville Parish (St. Paul’s and Gaither UMC), Sykesville, Maryland. Dr. Tzan has served as Adjunct Professor in United Methodist Studies and Church History at Wesley for a number of years.
David Scott, BU alumnus and CGCM affiliate, recently published an article entitled “The Value of Money: Funding Sources and Philanthropic Priorities in Twentieth-Century American Mission” in Religions. Below is the description of the article:
At the turn of the twentieth century, Western missionaries and mission organizations sought to develop financial strategies that would facilitate the further expansion of the Western mission enterprise. Three such strategies emerged: an increasingly sophisticated, corporatized approach to fundraising by mission boards; faith missions that shifted the economic risks associated with fundraising from mission agencies to missionaries; and self-supporting missions that cultivated economic funding available in the mission field. Each of these strategies had different implications for power configurations in the mission enterprise and allowed the values and views of different groups to prevail. The board approach empowered mission executives and large donors. The faith mission approach empowered missionaries and supporters with a conservative theology. The self-supporting mission approach made missionaries arbiters among a variety of competing interests. This economic approach to the study of mission provides new insights into the complex and contested power arrangements involved in Western foreign mission that extend beyond those gained from traditional political and cultural analyses.
The Global Christian Forum Committee chose Dr. Casely Essamuah to serve in the central role of its Secretary. Dr. Essamuah will take up the position on 1 July 2018, following the retirement of the Rev Dr Larry Miller who has led the GCF for the last six years. Dr. Essamuah will be presented as ‘Secretary elect’ to the third global gathering of the GCF, which occurs in Bogota, Colombia April 24-27, 2018.