Scripture, prayer and worship are three key elements of the internal life of Christians across the world. Corporately or individually, Christians hear, read, enact and inhabit the bible. They pray alone, in twos and threes, and in large gatherings. They pray aloud or in silence. They pray spontaneously or following a common form of words. Christians sing songs and make music. They perform and recite liturgies. Such is the ubiquity of these elements that it seems surprising that it was not until 2018 that the Yale-Edinburgh Conference chose ‘Scripture, Prayer and Worship in the History of Missions and World Christianity’ as its theme. This special issue of Studies in World Christianity brings together six of the excellent papers that were presented at the conference. Together they offer a time frame of about two hundred years and an impressive global range – New Zealand, Argentina, India, USA and China. Although they only focus upon Protestant practice, the articles demonstrate how rich that practice has become.Continue reading
The following tribute was written by Professor Sanneh’s longtime friend and colleague Professor Andrew F. Walls.
We have learned with sorrow of the passing, after a short illness, of Lamin Sanneh, D Willis James Professor of World Christianity at Yale University, co-founder and joint convener of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of Missions and World Christianity. The Group’s annual conferences, meeting in Yale and Edinburgh alternately, have been an important feature of the life of our Centre.Continue reading
This year’s meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group (28–30 June 2018) was welcomed to Scotland with unusually warm weather. While we had the rare occasion to grumble that the Scottish weather was too warm for us, the three-day conference continued in a warm and friendly atmosphere. On the first day of the conference, some of our delegates attended the launch of our current director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity Professor Brian Stanley’s new book, Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A World History, which he dedicated to Andrew F. Walls, the founder of the CSWC. Dr Emma Wild-Wood, who joined the CSWC in January, then delivered the opening lecture on the social meaning of baptism in Uganda between 1890 and 1910. Continue reading
In two weeks’ time (28-30 June 2018), the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity will be holding its 2018 annual meeting in the University of Edinburgh. The theme, ‘Scripture, Prayer and Worship in the History of Missions and World Christianity’, has drawn a strong number of excellent papers covering an impressive number of topics:
Papers from our 2017 meeting have recently been published in Studies in World Christianity 24.1, and a selection of this year’s papers will likewise be published in a future issue of the journal.
Migration, Diaspora and Return
Migration has featured as a major topic in contemporary social and political discourse. In Europe and North America, where many have lamented the decline of the church, much of this migration includes the waves of vibrant expressions of Christianity coming from peoples with origins in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Of course, the connection between the development of Christianity and the movement of people is nothing new. The book of Acts, for instance, narrates the early church’s trajectory from Jerusalem as the centre of Judaism to Rome as the centre of the Gentile world – the earliest ‘gravitational shift’ of Christianity. Luke describes the Day of Pentecost as the moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers, who were ‘devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem’ (Acts 2: 5, NRSV). These were Jewish believers from the diaspora who had returned and were then living in Jerusalem.
Much of Christian history is a story of the multidirectional movement of the faithful dispersed into new lands and returning to old lands. Continuing this theme, the four main articles in this issue were originally delivered at the 2017 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the history of the missionary movement and world Christianity, held at Yale Divinity School from 29 June to 1 July 2017. The theme of the conference was ‘Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage in the History of Missions and World Christianity’. These papers narrate a story of Christianity as a worldwide phenomenon developed, negotiated and reconfigured through migration, diaspora and return. Continue reading