In the midst of a pandemic that is shaking the globe we call for papers for a special issue of Studies in World Christianity that analyse immediate responses to COVID-19 and that give some historical perspective on pandemics or epidemics. We do this in order to resource further response to pandemic whose effects will be with us for some years to come.
The papers may interrogate worldwide Christian responses to the outbreak of COVID-19 around the world by examining how churches have responded theologically and practically as the disease continues to spread. How have Christians responded by offering hope, calling for lament, or proclaiming God’s judgment? What ethical questions about planetary health, palliative care etc. have emerged or been hightened? How has digital media been employed for online church practice or as a vehicle for evangelism and social engagement? How has social distancing shaped understandings of the church community, and in what ways has online church left behind certain sectors of society?
The papers may also provide insight into how the world church in the past understood wide spread disease. Plague and pestilence have regularly been given theological scrutiny in Christian history and have prompted discussions of evil. The 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic influenced Pentecostal growth across the globe, and was instrumental in creating Independent Churches in West Africa who turned to fervent prayer and criticised mission churches for a lack of confidence in God. Missionary photography of plague and leprosy have been used to invigorate support of Western churches and missionary societies. In more recent history, HIV/AIDS has been described by some as the result of sexual sin, whereas the Avian flu and SARS were seen by others as fulfilling end-times prophecy and Ebola has shaken customary palliative care and funeral rites.
It is not uncommon to find articles that address aspects of health and Christian healing. In this special issue we wish to examine worldwide Christian reactions to disease and its spread as a way of understanding and reflecting upon a common problem with different contextual outcomes that have distinct and shared responses across the globe.
Due to the timeliness of the subject, we invite indicative abstracts by 20 April 2020 and complete articles (5000–8000 words, footnotes inclusive) by 25 May 2020. Papers should be formatted based on our style guide and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.