Previous Lectures and Mission Research Colloquia


Spring 2016

January 12, 2016
Dr. Jay Moon
Studying God's Word withut a Bible: Faith Comes by Hearing and Seeing

February 23, 2016
Dr. James R. Krabill
Teach us the Songs of Heaven: How a Liberian Prophet-Evangelist Unleashed Musical Creativity in West Africa

March 15, 2016
Prof. Allan H. Anderson
Contextualization in Pentecostalism: A Multicultural Perspective


Fall 2015

October 17, 2015
Dr. Volker Küster
Splendor of the Images, Power of the Images

December 1, 2015
Dr. David W. Shenk
Christian. Muslim. Friend. Twelve Paths to Real Relationship


Spring 2015

January 12, 2015
Rev. Ben Torrey
The Holy Spirit and Korea, North and South

February 6, 2015
Ruth Padilla DeBorst
Faith and Life: Theological Formation off the Grid

March 17, 2015
Dr. Bao Zhaohui
A Survey of the History and Practice of Campus Ministry in China

April 7, 2015
Dr. Tite Tiénou
Ethnicities and Christian Mission: Friends or Foes?

April 28, 2015
Dicky Sofjan
Democratization of Truth: Religious Diversity and the Politics of Multiculturalism in Indonesia

April 30, 2015
Jon Hinkson and Kamil Hałambiec
True Spirituality: Insights on America’s Greatest Theologian (Jonathan Edwards)

Fall 2014

September 15, 2014
Dr. Tow Yow Chew
Spirituality and Leadership

October 10, 2014
Dr. Atul Y. Aghamkar
Emerging Christward Movements in India: A Missiological Appraisal

October 21, 2014
Dr. Siga Arles
An Analysis of Emerging Theology in India

November 4, 2014
Canon Dr. Titus L. Presler
Duty, Witness, and Risk: Dilemmas of a Mission in Peshawar

November 14, 2014
Professor Andrew F. Walls
The First African Diaspora and Its Mission to Africa

December 1, 2014
Dr. David W. Shenk
Muslim and Christian Peacemakers in our Terrorist World

Spring 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas

"Church as Missionary Society? Missional Faithfulness in the 21st Century"

"The Church in the West is in a time of profound change as 20th century ecclesial models and institutional realities are losing their efficacy," says the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, fifteenth bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. Drawing on the literature of the "missional church" and using the Episcopal Church in Connecticut as a case study, Dr. Douglas will consider "faithfulness to the mission of God as a primary way forward for Christians in North America." Bishop Douglas, who was professor of mission and world Christianity at Episcopal Divinity School, will suggest possibilities for "reclaiming the church's identity as a missionary society."

Monday, April 7, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Held at Trinity Baptist Church, 630 State Street, New Haven

Dr. Mark R. Gornik

"Practices of Ministry in the City: Contemporary Trends and Observations"

Dr. Mark. R. Gornik, director of City Seminary of New York, examines contemporary trends in the urban church with a focus on New York City. With an eye on biblical models, as well as theology, mission, and ecclesiology, he asks, "Are there particular patterns and practices for effective urban ministry?" This public lecture begins a weeklong seminar at OMSC, "For the City Yet to Come: An Introduction to Ministry in an Urban World." Held at Trinity Baptist Church, New Haven and cosponsored by Christian Reformed World Missions and Trinity Baptist Church, New Haven.

Friday, April 4, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Chin (John) Wang

Diaspora Missions in New York City: Missions Practices among Immigrant Churches

Christian immigrants and their churches have brought ethnic diversity and spiritual energy to the Christian communities in many American cities. "Are they coming," Dr. Chin (John) Wang asks, "with high missionary potential, or just serving their own ethnic communities without much to offer in global missions?" He will discuss the status of missions of the African, Chinese, and Hispanic immigrant churches in New York City and explore the influence of ethnicity, immigration, and theology in their missions practices. Born in Taiwan and raised in Argentina, Dr. Wang is the pastor of Chinese and Spanish ministry at First Baptist Church of Flushing, New York, a multiethnic, multilingual, and multi-congregational church in north-central Queens.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Mary Mikhael

The Arab Spring and the Christians of the Middle East: What Future?

Christians have long lived in Syria in peace and relative freedom, but now they face violence, kidnapping, and murder. "What will be the future of Christianity in Syria?" asks Dr. Mary Mikhael, OMSC senior mission scholar, who addresses these urgent topics. A Presbyterian who was born in Syria to Greek Orthodox parents, she works with the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, was president (1994–2011) of the Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon, and was the first woman seminary president in the Middle East. Dr. Mikhael has been involved in ecumenical and interfaith activities and is a noted authority on the church in the Middle East and the role of women in the church.

Friday, March 14, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Laura S. Meitzner Yoder

Human Flourishing and Fullness of Life: Changing Approaches in Christian Relief and Development

Dr. Laura Meitzner Yoder, director of the Human Needs and Global Resources program and associate professor of environmental studies at Wheaton College (Illinois), will discuss the "changing roles that para-church agencies and local church initiatives have had in responding to the broad range of human needs." These initiatives, she says, "have taken new shape over time in response to development theory, economic change, and a growing awareness of environmental impacts." An OMSC resident when she was completing a Ph.D. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Dr. Yoder's research centers on policies and practices of land and forest control in Southeast Asia, especially in Timor-Leste.

Resources on missionary earthkeeping (from Dr. Yoder)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Carlos L. Malavé

The Christian Faith in the United States: Unity, Survival, and Hope

Divided by theological and socio-political differences, Christianity as practiced in the United States requires what Rev. Carlos L Malavé, executive director of Christian Churches Together, calls “space in which Christian denominations—across the theological spectrum—can meet each other and seek new ways of understanding and cooperation.” A native of Puerto Rico who has been a pastor in California, he asks, “Should dialogue be a priority for the church? With whom and why shall we engage in dialogue? Will traditional models of ecumenism respond to the worldview of new generations?” Rev. Malavé, who was assistant stated clerk for the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), will discuss these and related questions.

Monday, February 24, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Held at and hosted by St. John's Episcopal Church, 400 Humphrey St., New Haven

Barbara Hüfner-Kemper

Common Missionary Challenges: Communication, Conflict, and Marriage

“As missionaries we know about inner conflicts with our own understanding and being,” says psychotherapist Barbara Hüfner-Kemper. A United Methodist missionary in Brazil for eight years, she will direct her comments on conflicts with spouses and family members and attempt to “connect our own experiences in mission with theoretical information about conflict, as well as with creative and participative methods of group work and counseling.” Those attending the weeklong OMSC seminar—the opening session of which was the public lecture held at St. John's Episcopal Church—used Bible stories to “deepen an understanding of conflict situations and learn new ways to cope.” She trains and counsels in cross-cultural communication, conflict resolution, stress reduction, and trauma.

Monday, January 13, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Ben Torrey

"The Need to Prepare for the Opening of North Korea"

Ben Torrey, executive director of The Fourth River Project, Inc. (, will look at life and belief in North Korea, and the differences in language and culture between North Korea and South Korea. He will discuss "the various types of preparation needed for when North Korea opens and strategies for carrying the life-giving Gospel into the North so that it can be understood and received." A food monitor for three-and-a-half months in North Korea, Torrey is chairman of the board of trustees of Jesus Abbey, Taebaek, Kangwon Do, South Korea. He and his wife, Liz, live at Jesus Abbey (, where they are developing the River of Life School and the Three Seas Training Center. He is also a priest of the Evangelical Apostolic Church of North America (, which carries forward the tradition of the Church of the East.


For additional information, read these articles from the
International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2008:

Reflections on North Korea: The Psychological Foundation of the North Korean Regime and Its Governing Philosophy by Hyun-Sik Kim, translated by George Kap-Hun Kim, edited by Ben Torrey

The Mission to North Korea
by Ben Torrey

Fall 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Held at First Baptist Church, 205 Edwards Street, New Haven

Dr. David W. Shenk

The Gospel of Peace in Dynamic Engagement with the Peace of Islam:
The Seventh-Century Arabian Context

Dr. David W. Shenk, a global consultant with Eastern Mennonite Missions, opens this weeklong mission seminar (held at OMSC) with this public lecture (held at First Baptist Church, New Haven). Throughout the week he explores the church's calling to bear witness to the Gospel of peace in its engagement with Muslims, whether in contexts of militancy or in settings of moderation. He is especially concerned with equipping Christians to bear faithful witness to Christ within a world of many religions, including Islam. Cosponsored by Eastern Mennonite Mission and Mennonite Central Committee.

Friday, November 8, 2013, 12:30 p.m.

Professor Andrew F. Walls

The Christian Chapter in the History of African Religion: The Primal Religions as the Substructure of Contemporary Christianity

Professor Andrew F. Walls, University of Edinburgh, Liverpool Hope University, and Akrofi-Christaller Institute, concluded OMSC's eighth Distinguished Mission Lectureship series—five lectures with discussions—with this Friday lecture. During the week, he explored Christian interaction with indigenous or "primal" religions from the Greco-Roman world and pre-Christian Europe to present-day Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific, and considers the special significance of the Old Testament in this connection. The lectures were cosponsored by The Mission Society.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Bonita Grubbs

Hope on Hold or Hold on Hope? Urban Ministry in 2013 in New Haven

A longtime community organizer in New Haven, Rev. Bonita Grubbs, executive director of Christian Community Action, Inc., "examined whether the hope we have in improving conditions for people who are poor is on hold, or whether we are holding on to the hope we have by working to improve conditions for people who are poor." She considered the role faith-based organizations have had in ministry and advocacy since 1963, the year of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic March on Washington. Christian Community Action ( started in 1967.

Friday, October 11, 2013, 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Volker Küster

Intercultural Theology is a Must

Since Christianity's "center of gravity" shifted toward the global South, Christians have what Dr. Volker Küster says is a "great potential to contribute to discussions about globalization and cultural religious pluralism." The OMSC senior mission scholar, whose research focuses on dialogue, conflict, and reconciliation, will discuss "a reflexive theology that is aware of the fluidity and ambiguity of religious traditions (and is thus) intercultural." Dr. Küster is professor of comparative religion and missiology at Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

Monday, September 30, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Bernard & Dr. Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta

Empowering Partnerships for Peace: Lessons for the Church from a Muslim Society

Dr. Bernard and Dr. Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta, Presbyterian Church (USA) mission workers, will discuss their experiences in partnership with Muslims in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country and home to more than twenty-five million Christians. "The mission of the church depends on peace and thrives on partnerships between Christians and Muslims," he explains. Bernie was the founding director of the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies, which includes secular, Christian, and Muslim universities. Farsijana is the head of the Indonesian Women's Coalition for the Special Province of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Friday, September 27, 2013, 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Sallama Shaker

Why Egypt Matters: Understanding the Current Political Crisis

Dr. Sallama Shaker, visiting professor of Middle East and Islamic studies at Yale Divinity School, will discuss the current political crisis gripping Egypt and its implications for the United States, the West, and the entire Middle East. An OMSC resident for the fall semester, she asks, "How can a country with such rich heritage and people be polarized under the disguise of political Islam?" Previously Dr. Shaker was Egypt's deputy minister of foreign affairs for cultural, educational relations, technical cooperation, and the ambassador to Canada.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Robert A. Hurteau

An Early Enlarger of the Story: The Life of John J. Considine, M.M.

John J. Considine, M.M. (1897–1982) was an early proponent of ecumenism and inter-religious cooperation, and his ideas on world Christianity made this Maryknoll priest an ardent spokesperson for the indigenization of the church around the world. Dr. Robert A. Hurteau, director, Center for Religion and Spirituality, Loyola Marymount University, is author of A Worldwide Heart: The Life of Maryknoll Father John J. Considine (Orbis, 2013).

A celebration of the longtime OMSC-Maryknoll partnership
was held after the lecture.

Monday, September 16, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Won Sang Lee

Spirituality for Servant Leaders: Imitation of the Character of Christ

Dr. Won Sang Lee, who retired after twenty-six years as senior pastor of Korean Central Presbyterian Church, Centreville, Virginia, will present concepts that encourage Christians to live "as spiritually fervent, Christlike examples of service to God and others." He is president of SEED International, a Korean mission agency based in Merrifield, Virginia.

The opening session of a weeklong mission seminar at OMSC, this public lecture was held at Connecticut Korean Presbyterian Church, which meets at Bethesda Lutheran Church, in New Haven.

Spring 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Allison M. Howell

“A Disintegrating House?”: The Environment, Culture, and Christian Mission

Dr. Allison M. Howell will discuss the “crisis in the relationships of culture, the environment, and the Gospel” and suggest ways that individuals “can begin to work towards a holistic transformation” of the world, which, she describes as “a house in which people relate to one another and the world around them.” An Australian who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr. Howell is an associate professor and dean of accredited studies at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture, Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana.

This lecture, the opening session of the weeklong OMSC seminar on “Gospel, Culture, and the Environment,” was held at St. Mary’s Church, New Haven.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Tite Tiénou

Orishatukeh Faduma: A Trailblazer of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation

Orishatukeh Faduma was, in the words of Dr. Tite Tiénou, a "trailblazer of mutual understanding and cooperation between Africans and African-Americans." Dr. Tiénou, senior vice president of education, dean, and professor of theology of mission at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, will discuss Faduma's life and ministry and consider implications for America's racially divisive contemporary culture.

Faduma (1857–1946) was the first African to enroll at Yale Divinity School (1891). He later developed a Pan-African missiology and was ordained as a Congregational minister (1895). While under appointment by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission to return to his home country, Sierra Leone, "as soon as the finances will allow," Faduma took a "temporary" assignment with the American Missionary Association, an abolitionist group that promoted racial equality, as superintendent of Peabody Academy, and as pastor of the Congregational church in Troy, North Carolina.

This was the beginning of Faduma's thirty-nine years as a missionary educator, about which Dr. Tiénou, an OMSC Board of Trustees member, will speak. (The Dictionary of African Christian Biography has more information on Faduma.)

Friday, April 12, 2013, 12:30 p.m. / Mission Research Colloquium

Dr. Xiyi (Kevin) Yao

The Chinese Protestant Church at a Crossroads: Implications for World Mission

After three decades of dramatic growth by the Protestant church in China, “recent developments point to a triumphalistic model of Christendom being embraced by some of the most prominent urban house churches,” says Dr. Yao, associate professor of world Christianity and Asian studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

“As the Chinese church turns its eyes to world missions,” he asks, “will those efforts be more characterized by faithfulness, love, and humility, or by triumphalism and imperialism? Will the Chinese church become a genuine, thoughtful, and effective ambassador of the Gospel in the 21st century or will it largely play the role of middleman for certain agendas from the West?”

Before joining the Gordon-Conwell faculty in January 2012, Dr. Yao was associate professor in the Department of Theological Studies, China Graduate School of Theology, Hong Kong. A Beijing native, he has been an editor and researcher at the Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Science.

Monday, April 1, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Jonathan J. Bonk

Thinking Small: Incarnation and the Christian Mission

“While detailed statistics, fine-tuned demographics, and imaginative strategies are the broad brush mainstay of academic missiology,” says Dr. Jonathan J. Bonk in describing his lecture, “three stories—from India (Mizoram), Ethiopia, and Nepal—suggest that major Christian movements cannot be understood apart from indigenous players with little if any connection to Western missions.”

A Mennonite minister, Dr. Bonk retires in June as executive director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center and editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Before moving to New Haven in 1997, he was professor of global Christian studies at Providence College and Theological Seminary in Canada. Dr. Bonk was raised in Ethiopia by missionary parents, and later served there with his wife, Jean, in famine relief (1974–76).

He is past president of the International Association for Mission Studies, author of Missions and Money: Affluence as a Missionary Problem . . . Revisited, and founding director of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography, a multilingual, electronic, nonproprietary reference tool (

This lecture was the opening session of a weeklong OMSC seminar and was held at First Presbyterian Church, New Haven.

Friday, March 22, 2013, 12:30 p.m. / Mission Research Colloquium

Dr. Najib George Awad

How Do Syrian Christians Envision Post-Assad Syria?

Dr. Najib George Awad, associate professor of Christian theology at Hartford Seminary, will show that Syrian Christians “are neither silent nor indifferent” to the Arab Spring and will explain their “serious concerns, if not their fears, about the future of interreligious relationships in the country.” A poet born in Syria, Dr. Awad was a lecturer in systematic and contextual/ intercultural theology at the University of Göttingen in Germany. He graduated from the Near East School of Theology, Beirut, and King’s College, London, and was a Yale Divinity School visiting fellow and an OMSC resident. Dr. Awad is author of And Freedom Became a Public-Square: Political, Sociological, and Religious Overviews on the Arab Christians and the Arabic Spring (2012).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Rev. James C. Manship

Serving a Local Parish in a Globalized World

Rev. James C. Manship, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Haven, is known for being arrested in 2009 after he filmed two East Haven police officers harshly treating Latinos. He will speak at OMSC on the challenges and opportunities he faces ministering in a community comprised mainly of recently-arrived immigrant Latinos. Although he has been a central figure in making public allegations of mistreatment and profiling of Latino residents by the East Haven Police Department, he told the New Haven Register, “I'm not an activist. I’m a priest.” Rev. Manship grew up in East Hartford, graduated from the University of Connecticut in Storrs with a mechanical engineering degree, and worked for an auto parts manufacturer. He started teaching in a church catechism program, eventually realized he wanted to become a priest, attended seminary, and took posts in two other Connecticut cities before being transferred to St. Rose of Lima in 2005. “I do what I do because of my faith in Christ and my beliefs as a Roman Catholic,” he told the newspaper, adding that his work is based in Catholic beliefs. In 2011 Rev. Manship was named the New Haven Register’s Person of the Year.

Friday, March 1, 2013, 12:30 p.m. / Mission Research Colloquium

Dr. Thomas A. Oduro

"Arise, walk through the length and breadth of the land":
African Independent Churches in Mission

The emergence of African Independent Churches (AICs) and their ministries have become a puzzling maze for many missiologists. What motivates them to do mission? How successful are their missionary activities? Should AICs be regarded as missional churches? Dr. Thomas A. Oduro, the first African president of Good News Theological College and Seminary ( in Accra-North, Ghana, and currently an OMSC resident, will discuss these difficult questions faced by scholars who encounter AIC lifestyles and ministries, and even conjecture whether they may be counted as credible Christians. Part of the puzzle, he says, is identifying the missiology of AICs, many of which do not have theological institutions, mission professors, access to published articles and books on missions, or appointed missionaries.

Tuesday, Februry 5, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

John T. Nwangwu. M.D.

The World Health Organization: A Conversation with a Christian Consultant

Dr. John T. Nwangwu, a consultant with the World Health Organization, will lead a conversation on his activities that are highlighted in Ebola: The Plague Fighters, an episode of the PBS Nova television program. The documentary, which will be shown in part during the evening lecture, reports on the Ebola virus that struck Kikwit, in the southwestern part of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in early 1995 and killed almost 250 people before it was contained. An OMSC Board of Trustees member, Dr. Nwangwu is professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at Southern Connecticut State University and Yale University. He is also a Board of Missions member at Black Rock Congregational Church, Fairfield.

Fall 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012, 9 – 11 a.m.

OMSC Community Forum: The State of Religion in My Country

A panel of OMSC residents from around the world will discuss this timely topic of worldwide interest in the Great Commission Hall.

The OMSC Community Forum facilitates open discussion of contemporary issues by international Christian leaders and other interested participants. Issues discussed are of common interest to various types of people, hence Christians need both to contribute to and learn from general interactions about such subjects pertinent to the common good.

Monday, November 26, 2012, 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Sasan Tavassoli

Iranian Shi‘te Muslims and Christianity: The Contemporary Iranian Religious Landscape,
plus Factors and Trends in Iranian Shi‘ites Coming to Faith in Christ

Dr. Tavassoli is a former Shi'ite Muslim from Iran. He received a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Birmingham (UK). He is ordained in the Evangelical Church of Iran. Listen and discuss together with OMSC residents from around the world.

Sponsored by OMSC and held at Trinity Baptist Church, New Haven.

This public lecture was part of a week-long seminar held November 26-29 at OMSC on "Iranian Shi‘ite Muslims and Christianity." Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (Fairfield, Connecticut) and Trinity Baptist Church (New Haven) are cosponsors of the seminar.

Friday, November 9, 2012, 12:30 p.m. / Mission Research Colloquium

Professor Andrew F. Walls

The Christian Chapter of the History of African Religion?
African Religion, Christian and Pre-Christian

Professor Andrew F. Walls will investigate "the dual nature of African Christianity as the African chapter of the history of Christianity and the Christian chapter of the history of African religion." He taught in Sierra Leone and Nigeria and has lectured in many parts of the world including each year at OMSC. He was a professor at the University of Aberdeen and was founding director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh. An author of many noteworthy mission history books, he is also honorary professor in both of those universities, as well as at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture in Ghana, and research professor of world Christianity at Africa International University in Kenya.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Rev. Tracy Johnson Russell

Christian Mission in Newhallville

Rev. Russell is vicar of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, an urban congregation near OMSC, and chaplain at St. Thomas Episcopal Day School, New Haven. She is also president of the New Haven Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, cochair of the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Healthcare, and chaplain of the Citywide Youth Coalition. Rev. Russell graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where she received a bachelor of arts with a double major in political science and sociology in 1991. That same year she began theological studies at Berkeley, the Episcopal seminary of Yale Divinity School. She graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1995 and from Quinnipiac University in 1997.

Friday, October 26, 2012, 12:30 p.m. / Mission Research Colloquium

Professor Brian Stanley

Is the Global Evangelical Movement Disintegrating?

"Evangelicalism over the last fifty to sixty years has moved from the margins of world Christianity to the status of the mainstream. Both in North America and in Europe evangelical churches dominate the field, while the most rapidly increasing sector of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is the Pentecostal movement," says Dr. Brian Stanley, professor of world Christianity and director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. "However," he asks, "has such global expansion and diffusion been achieved at the price of theological coherence and stable identity? As evangelicalism moves out of its Enlightenment framework into the postmodern age, is it on the verge of dissolution?"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Andrew T. Kaiser

Lessons for Today from China's Past: Timothy Richard's Innovations in Mission

"When confronted with the real difficulties involved in taking the Gospel across Chinese cultural barriers, the Welsh Baptist missionary Timothy Richard quickly adapted his practice and understanding of mission. Though conceived nearly 150 years ago, these innovations are every bit as important for church and mission in China today," says Andrew T. Kaiser. He and his family have been living and working in the same second-tier Chinese city since 1997. His main responsibilities include government relations, discipleship training, and the practice of responsible Christian witness in the Chinese workplace. He is currently completing doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Friday, September 28, 2012, 12:30 p.m. / Mission Research Colloquium

Dr. Thomas J. Hastings

"Kagawa Toyohiko: A Christian Pacifist Caught in the Crossfire of War"

Thomas J. Hastings, senior research fellow at the Japan International Christian University Foundation, New York, will discuss Kagawa Toyohiko, an internationally renowned pastor, evangelist, advocate for the poor, novelist, union organizer, and pacifist, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Hastings will explore the question of whether or not Kagawa abandoned his pacifism during World War II, as some have claimed. Previously, Hastings was director of research at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey. He spent twenty years teaching in Japan as a mission co-worker of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and was professor of practical theology at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Michael J. McClymond

"Between Rome, Geneva, Constantinople, and Los Angeles:
Reflections on Jonathan Edwards and the Future of World Christianity"

"World Christianity today is quite different than a century ago. . . . A new agenda needs to be scripturally based, open to vibrant, Spirit-led experience, engaged with non-Christian religions, and ecumenically fruitful," says Dr. McClymond, professor of modern Christianity, Saint Louis University; and president of the Institute for World Christianity. "Surprising as it may sound, the writings of eighteenth-century thinker Jonathan Edwards offer an excellent point of departure. He functions as a bridge figure in four ways—between Catholics and Protestants, the Christian East and West, Charismatics and Non-Charismatics, and Liberals and Conservatives." Dr. McClymond, senior mission scholar at OMSC, is author of Encounters With God: An Approach to the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (1998), which received the 1999 Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize from the American Society of Church History as the best first book in the history of Christianity.

Spring 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Hovhannes Hovhannisyan

Historical and Religious Developments in Armenia

Dr. Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, an associate professor in the Faculty of Theology of Yerevan State University at Brusov State Linguistics University, teaches church history, the Reformation movement within the Armenian Church, the Armenian Church during the Soviet period, and religious pluralism in Europe. In 2007, he completed a Ph.D. thesis on the Reformation of the Armenian Church from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The following year he was a visiting fellow at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and last year at Tubingen University, Germany. Widely published and co-editor of the journal Religion and Society, Dr. Hovhannisyan is researching at Yale this spring while he and his wife, Christina Grigorian, reside at OMSC.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dr. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu

"In the Power of the Spirit": Pneumatic Christianity and the Changing Face of African Mission

Africa has emerged as one of the major heartlands of Christian faith. "In placing experience above mere mental assent to creeds, African Christians have been able to keep dynamic mission at the heart of the Christian enterprise not just within the continent but also in the various African diasporas," says Dr. Asamoah-Gyadu, professor of contemporary African Christianity and Pentecostal-charismatic studies at Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, Accra, Ghana, and an OMSC senior mission scholar in residence. He will show how African Christians "value and consciously promote the experiential presence of the Spirit as part of normal Christian life" and examine the history of Christian mission in Africa with a particular emphasis on "pneumatic Christianity."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stefanos Alexopoulos

The Greek Orthodox Church in Context: Liturgical Traditions of Great Lent, Holy Week, and Easter

In the liturgical calendar of the Orthodox Church, Easter is the most significant feast, preceded by Holy Week and Great Lent. In this lecture OMSC resident Alexopoulos will address the history and evolution of these liturgical seasons, provide samples of the hymnography and music, and situate the celebration of Great Lent, Holy Week, and Easter in contemporary Greece, discussing the opportunities and challenges the Greek Orthodox Church faces in the 21st century. Born in Zimbabwe, Alexopoulos has lived for the past nine years in Greece and has served as a Greek Orthodox priest in the Archdiocese of Athens, where he teaches Byzantine liturgical history and practice.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ms. Barbara Hüfner-Kemper

Experiences of Trauma and the Treasure of Resilience

What is a "trauma"? What is a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)? What can caregivers do to avoid experiencing vicarious trauma, or suffering the same symptoms as the victims of trauma? What do cross-cultural workers need to know when doing mission work in traumatized societies? What is "resilience," and how do caregivers acquire it?, Ms. Hüfner-Kemper, a psychotherapist living in White Plains, N.Y., will discuss these vital, life-altering matters. She and her husband, Thomas Kemper, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, spent eight years (1986–94) as missionaries in Brazil through the German United Methodist Board of Missions.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rev Keith A. King

The Church's Response to Youth Violence: Being a Light That Shines in the Darkness

Rev. King is pastor of Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hamden, Connecticut. Additionally, King serves as a federal prosecutor in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Connecticut, and in that dual capacity he has presented his message about school safety and reducing juvenile gun violence to more than 30,000 students in a variety of forums throughout the state. Based on his extensive legal, pastoral, and community experience, Rev. King will discuss how congregations and individual Christians can respond constructively to the challenges and opportunities presented by juvenile violence in cities, including New Haven. With more than two hundred gun-related deaths recorded by the medical examiner in Connecticut last year and an ever-increasing number of homicides in New Haven each year, juvenile gun violence is an acute problem about which the church must show concern.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dr. Moses O. Biney

Transnational Mission Networks: From Africa to America

Dr. Biney, assistant professor of religion and society and research director for the Center for the Study and Practice of Urban Religion, New York Theological Seminary, will introduce and analyze transnational networks that exemplify new forms of twenty-first-century mission efforts. These efforts use structures that look much like the nineteenth-century Protestant churches in Africa, relating to a mission board in New York or London—only now the relationship is reversed, with the ordained leadership coming from Nigeria or Ghana to New York. Dr. Biney is also minister of missions and outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Irvington, New Jersey. He has served in various ministerial positions, including as the organizing pastor for a Ghanaian immigrant congregation in Bronx, N.Y. Dr. Biney is author of From Africa to America: Religion and Adaptation Among Ghanaian Immigrants in New York (2011).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dr. Basilius Groen

Worship Language: Finding the Right Words Today

“In many churches there is tension between the language that is used in worship and the actual vernacular tongue, an issue that has to do with cultural and religious identity, questions of unity and uniformity of ecclesiastical worship, and the intelligibility of liturgical rites,” says Dr. Groen, professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology and director of the Institute for Liturgy, Christian Art and Hymnology, University of Graz, Austria. He also holds the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue for South-East Europe, which was established in 2007 at the University of Graz. He is founding director of the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Nijmegen, Netherlands, which promote s scientific study of Eastern and Oriental Christianity, and was editor of the institute’s Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. Groen is a visiting professor at Yale Institute of Sacred Music and an OMSC resident.

Fall 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bishop Duleep De Chickera

A Theological Response to R2P (Responsibility to Protect)

Bishop Duleep De Chickera, who has devoted his life to reconciliation, peace, and justice, will draw on his experiences in Sri Lanka when he reflects theologically on related issues. He will discuss the International Coalition for theResponsibility to Protect (R2P,, which, he says, is "a political ethic that guides the international community when serious humanitarian crises erupt." In May 2001 De Chickera, rector of the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in Molkawa, Sri Lanka, was appointed fourteenth Anglican bishop of Colombo; he retired from that post December 31, 2010.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dr. Hirochika Nakamaki

"Anthropological Understanding of Religious Changes in East Asia From Kinship to Friendship"

Dr. Nakamaki, who received his M.A. (1973) and D.Litt. (1986) in the Science of Religion from the prestigious Tokyo University, is a senior scholar at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan ( Having conducted field work in Japan, Brazil, the U.S, England, and China, Nakamaki is also an advisor to the JICA Yokohama Japanese Overseas Migration Museum. He will discuss human relationships among Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Christianity, and New Religions.

Dr. Nakamaki ( has expanded his research to include the anthropology of administration and calendar studies which, he says, "opens up wider perspectives towards various cultures—religious, national, popular, commercial, ethnic, folkloric, regional, and so forth." His recent work includes policy research related to the National Institute for Research Advancement.

This special lecture was cosponsored by the Overseas Ministries Study Center and the East Rock Institute ( of New Haven.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dr. Peter Kuzmič

NOTE: Due to travel-restricting medical treatments, the November 11th lecture by Dr. Peter Kuzmič, professor of world missions and European studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, was canceled.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Professor Andrew F. Walls

Maximalists and Minimalists in Mission

"What is the object of Christian mission: the spread of the Gospel or the transformation of society? Or is this a meaningless question?"asks Professor Andrew F. Walls, founder and former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, University of Edinburgh. He will address this issue, which he says has "surfaced repeatedly in the missionary movement from the West, and was a battle of Christian titans, Hudson Taylor and Timothy Richard, J. H. Oldham, and Roland Allen." Dr. Walls is the subject of a forthcoming study, Understanding World Christianity: The Vision and Work of Andrew F. Walls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dr. Robert A. Evans and Alice Frazer Evans

The Mission Challenge of a Worldwide "Arab Spring":
Plowshares Institute "Peace Through Youth" Response

Dr. Robert A. Evans, executive director, and Alice Frazer Evans, director of writing and research, Plowshares Institute, Simsbury, Connecticut, will discuss "Peace Through Youth," a Plowshares program that consists of training initiatives in conflict transformation and peace building, especially for youth leaders. Particularly in the age of the so-called "Arab Spring" or Jasmine Revolution, the program focuses on areas that have authoritarian governments and are particularly prone to violence and repressive activities against human rights activists. Previously they were senior fellows at the Centre for Conflict Resolution at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. They are currently senior trainers for Empowering for Reconciliation and Peace, Jakarta, Indonesia;  special researchers for the Academy of Social Sciences, Nanjing, China; and founding directors of Plowshares Institute. They are also directors of a four-year training program in Mainland China. He has been a  faculty member of universities and seminaries in Uganda, Fiji, New York, Chicago, and Hartford; and a Presbyterian pastor in Oklahoma, Alabama, Illinois, and Connecticut. She is a Presbyterian elder in an inner-city congregation in Hartford and an adjunct faculty in theology at Hartford Seminary. They are authors and editors of a number of casebooks on global issues and more recently they have focused on international curriculum development with special attention to the use of case studies in conflict transformation, documentation, and training.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dr. Wonsuk Ma

Theological Motivation for Pentecostal Mission

"Pentecostalism played a significant role in Christian mission in the twentieth-century and it is expected to continue its spread and impact in the new century," says Dr. Wonsuk Ma, executive director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and a senior mission scholar in residence at OMSC. "Although often embedded in mission practices, the movement has a distinct set of theological motivations that prompts unique missionary approaches. The study explores these theological motivations. The continuing 'success' of the movement in the changing Christian landscape and mission environment will largely depend on its creative expression of these theological motivations." An Old Testament scholar and a Pentecostal, he is the author of Until the Spirit Comes: The Spirit of God in the Book of Isaiah (1999). Ma has edited numerous books. He was vice president for academic affairs at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (1996–2006), coeditor of the Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies (1998–2006), and editor of the Journal of Asian Mission (1999–2001). He jointly led three Edinburgh 2010 study groups. Dr. Ma and his wife, Dr. Julie C. Ma, a research tutor in missiology at OCMS, are coeditors of Asian Church and God's Mission (2003) and coauthors of Mission in the Spirit: Towards a Pentecostal/Charismatic Theology (2010).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dr. J. Nelson Jennings

Both Bible-Believing and Basically-Buddhist:
Divine Dealings with Takakura Tokutaro (1885–1934) and with All of Us

"How did Takakura Tokutaro become so absolutely convinced of his faith in Jesus Christ?" asks Dr. J. Nelson Jennings, OMSC director of program and community life. "Did his family's True Pure Land Buddhist heritage play any role in shaping Takakura's Bible-based Christian convictions? Was there interreligious interpenetration in Takakura's case? Were there some peculiar characteristics of his conversion and subsequent development as a person and thinker? How did Takakura's central insistence on the necessity of basing one's faith on the Bible alone relate to these other matters? Do these questions about a Japanese man who lived a century ago have anything to do with the rest of us?" Before joining the OMSC staff in July 2011, Jennings was professor of world mission at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, editor of Missiology: An International Review, and president of Presbyterian Mission International. From 1986 to 1999, he and his wife, Kathy, were Presbyterian missionaries in Japan, focusing their ministries on church planting and theological education. Jennings is author of God the Real Superpower: Rethinking Our Role in Missions (2007) and Theology in Japan: Takakura Tokutaro, 1885–1934 (2005, the subject of his doctoral dissertation), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Spring 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dr. Stephen J. Davis

Egyptian Christians and the Revolution of 2011

A specialist in the history of ancient and medieval Christianity, Dr. Stephen J. Davis will discuss present and future prospects for the church in Egypt, both its Coptic and its Protestant branches. He is professor of religious studies and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University. Prior to coming to Yale, Davis lived and taught in Egypt, where he was academic dean and professor of New Testament and early church history at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. His areas of teaching and research include the study of women and gender, pilgrimage and the cult of the saints, the history of biblical interpretation and canon formation, Egyptian Christianity, Arabic Christianity and its relation to Islam, early Christian art and material culture, and the application of anthropological, sociological, and literary methods in the study of historical texts. Davis is author of Coptic Christology in Practice: Incarnation and Divine Participation in Late Antique and Medieval Egypt (2008).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dr. Paul R. Gupta

Training Leaders for Twenty-first-Century Missions

Based on his experiences as a facilitator of church planting movements in India, Paul R. Gupta, senior mission scholar in residence at OMSC for the spring 2011 semester, will examine some of the complex challenges contemporary mission leaders face as they develop a new generation of leaders to fulfill the Great Commission. Gupta is president and director of the Hindustan Bible Institute and College, Kilpauk, Chennai, India, and president of HBI Global Partners. He is committed to equipping leaders for evangelism and church planting throughout India. After relocating to Chennai in 1983 to teach at the institute and college, he founded the Indian National Evangelical Fellowship and the Indian National Evangelical Church. The church implemented a strategy of recruiting missionaries to work throughout India, and by 2010 INEC counted 676 church planters who had started 4,264 churches. Gupta is coauthor with Sherwood G. Lingenfelter of Breaking Tradition to Accomplish Vision: Training Leaders for a Church-Planting Movement: A Case from India (2006).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fr. Luke A. Veronis

The Resurrection of a Church: The Conduct of Mission in Albania

"Most Orthodox Christians are unaware of the rich history of missions in their church. An even more closed door is the actual life of Orthodox missionaries. What in fact do Orthodox missionaries do?" asks Luke A. Veronis, priest of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Webster, Massachusetts; director of the Orthodox Missions Institute at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts; and an Overseas Ministries Study Center Board of Trustees member. Veronis became interested in Orthodox missions as a Holy Cross student and soon thereafter was a missionary in Africa. In 1994 he relocated to Albania. As he will discuss in this lecture, the Albanian Orthodox Church was nearly exterminated by the atheistic Communist rule of Enver Hoxha until in 1992 the "resurrection of the church commenced." Veronis is author of Go Forth! Stories of Missions and Resurrection in Albania (2010).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dr. Seok Jeoung Woo

The Long An Segaero Hospital Story: Ministry and Medicine in Vietnam

Dr. Seok Jeoung Woo, a medical missionary with Korea Presbyterian Missions, Kosin Denomination, will discuss his work as director of the Long An Segaero Hospital in Vietnam. An OMSC resident with his family, Woo was born into a Christian family. He followed a normal path to become a cardiovascular surgeon after receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. from Kyungpook National University School of Medicine. Encouraged by a friend who told him about the need for missionaries in Vietnam, he and his family made their home in rural Vietnam in 2001. In addition to surgical operations at the hospital, Woo has been active in setting up medical camps for Vietnamese who live in harsh conditions and have little medical care. These camps provide free mobile medical service to ordinary people, including those who suffer from heart disease and dioxin contamination. Living in Vietnam as missionaries has meant a dramatic change for the family life. "We used to be a typical middle-class nuclear family in Korea. But now we live with twenty people," Woo says.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

David Ro

The Emerging Urban Church in China:
A New Movement to Impact the World for Christ

Since the opening up of China in the early 1980's, the story of the growth of China's economy is surpassed only by the spectacular growth of the church. Rapidly spreading across the countryside, the church in China has now entered all the major urban centers," says David Ro. "This newly emerging urban church will not only impact China with the Gospel, but will have an important role in missions to impact the world for Christ," he observes. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, who was raised in Taiwan, he and his family moved to Beijing in 2003 where he started a Mandarin-language school for Westerners who live and work there ( The school is located in the heart of Beijing's University district. He studied for a graduate degree in the Boston, Massachusetts, area and received an M.B.A. from Peking University in 2005. Earlier he served at the Chinese BibleChurch of Greater Boston, Lexington, Massachusetts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dr. Yong Kyu Park

The Outbreak of the Pyengyang Great Revival: Its Nature and Impact

Dr. Yong Kyu Park, professor in the Church History Department at Presbyterian General Assembly Theological Seminary, part of Chongshin University, Seoul, Korea, will discuss "the marvelous manifestation of the Holy Spirit" evident at a Bible class in Korea in January 1907, and its aftermath, which has been called "The Korean Pentecost." The Pyengyang Great Revival, in what is now North Korea, was, in Park's words, "a great awakening that had never been seen before—and it was God's providence to prepare the Korean church and missionaries for the suffering that followed." An OMSC resident, Park is working on an English edition of a book he wrote about the revival. This new book will be based on his Korean text, which was published in 2007 to commemorate the revival's centennial. A fourth-generation Christian, Park studied at Sungkyungwan University and eventually received call to become a minister.

Fall 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Professor Andrew F. Walls

The Last Crusade and the Origins of the Western Missionary Movement:
The Christian Significance of the Americas

Andrew WallsProfessor Andrew F. Walls, founder and former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, is senior research professor at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture, Akropong, Ghana. He is honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh, and professor of the history of mission at Liverpool Hope University. He served as a missionary in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. His writings include The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith (1996), The Crosscultural Process in Christian History (2002), and The Cultural History of Christian Conversion (forthcoming). His lecture is the conclusion of a weeklong Distinguished Mission Lectureship at OMSC on “The Church on Six Continents: Many Strands in One Tapestry–II.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

David M. Mace

Changing the Face of Poverty: Providing Hope and Dignity to the Entrepreneurial Poor Through Microloans

David MaceDavid M. Mace retired in September 2003 as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Northern Trust Company of Connecticut. Prior to joining Northern in October 1996, he was chairman of The Pacific Group, a holding company for the U.S. interests of the Noboa group of companies, which owns the Ecuadorian Line and is the largest privately owned banana exporter in the world. Mace is chairman of Vision Fund International, a World Vision International subsidiary responsible for its microlending ministry worldwide. An Overseas Ministries Study Center Board of Trustees member, Mace is also a trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary and a former board chair. He is an elder of Noroton Presbyterian Church, Darien, Connecticut and is founder and chairman of the Fairfield County Micro-Investors Council, a group of families interested in supporting microlending in developing countries.

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010

Dr. John W. McNeill

The Russian Church, the Collapse of the Soviet Empire, and Missions

Dr. John W. McNeill, senior mission scholar in residence at OMSC for the fall 2010 semester, is professor of anthropology and intercultural studies at Providence College, Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada. Prior to joining the Providence faculty in 2000, he was an intercultural teacher and administrator with the University of the Nations, an affiliate of Youth With A Mission. Dr. McNeill trained leaders for nineteen years (1990–2009) at the university’s center in Eastern Europe and Russia, and he held the same position in former East Germany (1989–92). A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, he is author of Western Saints in Holy Russia (2002), “The Church and Western Ministry: What Russian Christians Think,” in The East-West Church and Ministry Report(1994), and “Reclaiming Augustine for Christian Education,” in Christian Education Journal (2003).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dr. Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome

“Àìní obìnrin ò seé dáké lásán, bí a dáké lásán, enu níí yo ni
(Having no wife calls for positive action; to keep quiet is to invite trouble and inconveniences)”:
Women’s Leadership Roles in Aládŭrà Churches in Nigeria and the United States

Dr. OkomeDr. Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome is professor of political science, African and women’s studies, Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She is author of “African Immigrant Churches and the New Christian Right,” a chapter in African Immigrant Religions in America (2007) and A Sapped Democracy: The Political Economy of the Structural Adjustment Program and the Political Transition in Nigeria, 1983–1993 (1998) and is coeditor of Ìrìnkèrindò: A Journal of African Migration ( Earlier this year Central Connecticut State University recognized Dr. Okome with the 2010 Amistad Award for contributions to International Education.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas

Missiological and Ecclesiological Challenges
Before the Anglican Communion Today

Ian T. Douglas was ordained the fifteenth diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut in April 2010. He is responsible for over 170 congregations and parishes. Previously he was professor of mission and world Christianity at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Douglas serves on the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion from the ACC. A member of the design group for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of worldwide Anglican bishops, he is author of “Equipping for God’s Mission: The Missiological Vision of the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops” (International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2009) and coauthor of Understanding the Windsor Report: Two Leaders in the American Church Speak Across the Divide (2005). Douglas is a founder of the Anglican Contextual Theologians Network and past convenor of the Seminary Consultation on Mission.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hope Stephenson

There Is a God Behind Football: Five Weeks in Nairobi

When the world turned its eyes to South Africa last summer for the FIFA World Cup, Hope Stephenson, who graduated in 2010 from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Arts in Religion with a World Christianity concentration, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to explore Christianity in the heart of Africa. While based at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, she visited churches, clinics, slums, microfinance projects, schools, and outreach ministries, as well as the majority-Muslim city of Mombasa. Her encounters with graduate students, professors, ministers, missionaries, and laypersons from around the world “yielded profound insight into African Christianity and its future in Kenya,” says Stephenson.

Spring 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mr. Christopher E. George

The U.S. Government Refugee Resettlement Program: The Challenges of Resettling Iraqi Refugees

Chris George is executive director of IRIS, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, a New Haven–based refugee resettlement agency. Previously he worked part time at the Connecticut Commission on Children in Hartford and advocated for better government and citizen’s rights by writing several articles on the legislative process, transparency, and voter registration. George began his international career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Muscat, Oman, and spent most of his professional life living in or working on matters relating to the Middle East. Before returning to Connecticut in 2004, he worked seven years in the West Bank and Gaza Strip directing contracts with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Working for the Vermont-based international consulting firm ARD Inc., he directed a project for strengthening the first democratically elected Palestinian parliament and later established an emergency assistance program that gave grants to nonprofit organizations. From 1994 to 1996, George was executive director of Human Rights Watch—Middle East, based in New York City, and he continues to serve on its advisory panel. Prior to that, he worked nine years with Save the Children, mostly in the Middle East, and three years with American Friends Service Committee, mostly in Lebanon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dr. Philomena Njeri Mwaura

Christian Identity and Ethnicity in Africa: Reflections on the Gospel of Reconciliation

In this lecture Dr. Philomena Njeri Mwaura explores the issue of ethnocentrism. Despite the church’s tremendous growth in Africa during the past century, this problem challenges Christian identity and the authenticity of the church in Africa. Tracing the New Testament markers of Christian identity as transformation in Christ, love, unity, and embrace of the other, Dr. Mwaura argues that only a people who are secure in their Christian identity are able to be authentic witnesses to the Gospel. Paul’s teaching on the ministry of reconciliation is an imperative in diverse contexts where ethnic, national, and religious identities are in conflict and competition. The church must be equipped for this ministry by being prophetic, vigilant, intentionally present and active, and in solidarity with the marginalized.

An OMSC senior mission scholar for the spring semester, Dr. Mwaura is senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. She teaches courses in the areas of African Christian history, new religious movements, African-instituted churches, world Christianity, and gender. She has also been a consultant on gender mainstreaming in education, theology, and HIV/AIDS vaccine clinical trials. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of World Christianity and is a contributing editor of Mission Studies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dr. Elias Kesrouani

The New Science, Musimedialogy: A Reading of the Ancient Maps
of the Middle-Eastern and Eastern Churches and Civilizations

Professor Elias Kesrouani has earned an international reputation for musical compositions in Syriac and Arabic. He has participated in many international conferences, concerts, and colloquia, among them a concert at Royaumont Research Center in France in 2007 and in the scientific colloquium of the Arab Academy of Music in Cairo, annually since 1996. He represented Lebanon at a meeting of experts in New Delhi organized by UNESCO, which discussed the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.” Dr. Kesrouani’s academic activities have taken him to Italy, Algeria, Greece, Morocco, Oman, Jordan, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Tunisia, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, United Kingdom, and Spain. In addition he is a member of several scientific committees with UNESCO and the Arab Academy of Music, part of the Arab League.

Dr. Kesrouani is founder and research professor in the Department of Music and Musicology at Notre Dame University, Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon, where he created the university’s discipline called “musimedialogy.” Previously he was dean of the Jordan Academy of Music, and professor at the University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik, Lebanon, and at the National Higher Conservatory of Music, Beirut. He is also codirector of Ph.D. research at the Sorbonne Paris IV University for Oriental Ethnomusicology.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dr. Mary C. Nebelsick

“You Visited Me in Prison”: The Philippines, the Church, and Repression

Political oppression is something that governments can use to silence their opponents. It has been used in the Philippines to intimidate the United Church of Christ in the Philippines—including six members of the Union Theological Seminary community—which opposes the way that the Philippine government is treating the poor. But does a professor of Bible have a choice? Authentically following the mandates of Matthew 25 calls one into potentially dangerous aspects of ministry. This lecture will look at the question of political oppression through the lens of Mary Nebelsick’s experience with her students and with fellow Christians who have been abducted, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered.

Dr. Mary C. Nebelsick is the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries and stands in the tradition of seeing active engagement in the world as mandated by biblical faith. She was born in Berlin, Germany, and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and Louisville, Kentucky. She studied at Wellesley College, Princeton Theological Seminary, Heidelberg University, and Philippine Christian University, from which she holds a Ph.D. She and her husband, Paul D. Matheny, are Presbyterian mission coworkers with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Since 2001, she has taught biblical studies at Union Theological Seminary and the Graduate School of Philosophy of Religion at Philippine Christian University.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dr. Chloë Starr

Sino-Christian Theology: The Origins and Development of a Movement

The term “Sino-Christian theology” refers primarily to a movement that began around 1993 and was developed in the mid-1990s by the “church fathers” Liu Xiaofeng and He Guanghu. One of the prime identifying marks of Sino-Christian theology is its adamantly academic nature, with its agenda to have Christian theology recognized as an academic discipline in China and to generate a body of public intellectuals in China who are versed in theological thinking. This theology is not “of the church for the church,” but “from Chinese academia for Chinese academia, facing the church and society.” What effects has Sino-Christian theology had on church beliefs and on the wider society in China? Has the movement now run its course?

Dr. Chloë Starr is assistant professor of Asian Christianity and theology at Yale Divinity School. Her academic interests span Qing dynasty fiction and Chinese Christianity. She has published a monograph and two edited volumes; recent articles include “The Prayer Book in Nineteenth-Century China” and a survey of Chinese para-scriptural texts. She spent the 2008–09 academic year in China and Hong Kong and is currently translating and editing a reader in Chinese theology with materials gathered in that period. She holds honorary research positions at the Institute for Sino-Christian Studies in Hong Kong and in Beijing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dr. Jesudas M. Athyal

Edinburgh to Athens: The Rough and Tumble of Ecumenical Missiology

At the first centenary of the Edinburgh Mission Conference, focus naturally falls on the legacy of this historic event. A significant development since Edinburgh 1910 has been the end of colonialism and the shift ofChristianity’s center of gravity from the North to the South. Despite its colonial and missionary baggage, Edinburgh 1910 attempted to redefine the meaning of Christian mission for a world coming of age. When we review the momentum created by Edinburgh, what needs to be noted is not so much the grandiosity of the event or triumphalistic slogans such as “the evangelization of the world in this generation,” but the critical voices raised against a crusading spirit and the strong call for unity that rang out at the conference. The challenge today is to recapture this vision for our time.

Dr. Jesudas M. Athyal is a fellow at the Center for Global Christianity and Mission of the Boston University School of Theology. He was associate professor of social analysis and philosophy at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai, India. Dr. Athyal’s books include Mission Today: Subaltern Perspectives(2001) and The Community We Seek: Perspectives on Mission (2003).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dr. Paul Shore

Competing Christianities: Jesuit Missionaries in Calvinist Hungary, 1650–1750

In the late seventeenth century Jesuits and Calvinists promoted their very different visions of Christian religious practice and personal conduct in the mountains of northern Hungary. The “point-counterpoint competition” for souls these missionaries undertook included debates, polemics and even violent confrontation. While Jesuits and Calvinists disagreed on the role of music and art in religious experience, Dr. Paul Shore says, they shared views on some notable points such as God’s vengeance being expressed through natural or military disasters.

Dr. Shore is a visiting fellow at the Jesuit Institute at Boston College and coauthor of the forthcoming book “Crisis and Survival on the Peripheries: Jesuit Culture, Continuity, and Change at Opposite Ends of Continental Europe, 1762–1814.” He has held teaching and research positions at Saint Louis University, the University of Edinburgh, Collegium Budapest, Harvard Divinity School, Charles University Prague, and Central European University.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dr. Michael A. Rynkiewich

Mission, Orality, and Hermeneutics

While it has become accepted in missionary circles that newly-planted churches should become self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating, the proposition that they should also become self-theologizing has been more difficult to argue. The centrality of the written word, the long tradition of philosophical theology, and the increasing separation between the church and the academy are among the factors that seem to make Western church leaders reluctant to give up control over doing theology. In this lecture Dr. Michael A. Rynkiewich, professor of anthropology in the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, Asbury Theological Seminary, will ask, “What is happening among local churches that are primarily oral in their learning/teaching style? What precedents exist for local hermeneutics? What will be the relationship between global and local theology?”

Previously he served with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church as a missionary in Papua New Guinea. Dr. Rynkiewich is a longtime member of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania. His early research was in the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, and his early career involved teaching at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. He is author of Ethics and Anthropology (1976), Politics in Papua New Guinea (2000), and Land and Churches in Melanesia (2001). His most recent book is The Times of Our Ancestors: Origin and Distribution of Melanesian Languages and Cultures. For two years he was editor of the journal Catalyst: Social Pastoral Journal for Melanesia.

Fall 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dr. Paul D. Matheny

Changing Perceptions of the Nature of the Church in the Philippines

The Protestant and Roman Catholic landscape of the Philippines, says Dr. Paul D. Matheny, “is very diverse. It comprises parachurches, local churches, Charismatic organizations, missionary communities, monastic and religious orders, unstructured Pentecostal groups, and others. As the influence of liberation theology on both Catholic and Protestant churches ebbs and the impact of Charismatic and populist movements in both church and society rises, something will certainly happen—but what?” Matheny, professor of Christian theology and ethics in the Philippines and an OMSC resident, will describe the current ecclesial context of the Philippines and suggest possible answers to this question. He coordinates the Ph.D. programs at Union Theological Seminary. Matheny is a mission worker with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dr. Volker Küster

The Christian Art Scene in Indonesia: Yogyakarta and Bali in Focus

Dr. Volker Küster, professor of cross-cultural theology at Protestant Theological University, Kampen, The Netherlands, will contrast the artistry of Ketut Lasia and Nyoman Darsane, who represent two different models for expressing Christian faith within Balinese culture. “Lasia accommodates biblical scenes within his practice of traditional Ubud style, while Darsane makes use of his deep knowledge of Hindu-Balinese culture and iconography to inculturate Jesus Christ with a Balinese face,” says Küster. Previously a lecturer in the history of religion, mission, and ecumenics at the University of Heidelberg, Küster’s research interests include Christian art and theology in the majority world, interreligious dialogue, and comparative religion. He is author of The Many Faces of Jesus Christ (2001; German 1999).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Professor Andrew F. Walls

When World Christianity Fell Apart:
The Missionary Significance of the Sixth Century

Professor Andrew F. Walls, founder and former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, is senior research professor at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture, Akropong, Ghana. He is honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh, and professor of the history of mission at Liverpool Hope University. He served as a missionary in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. His writings include The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith (1996), The Crosscultural Process in Christian History (2002), and The Cultural History of Christian Conversion (forthcoming).

His lecture was the conclusion of a weeklong Distinguished Mission Lectureship at OMSC on “The Church on Six Continents: Many Strands in One Tapestry.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dr. Allison M. Howell

“Ecologically Cursed”: Christian Alertness to the Signs of the Times in a Ghanaian Context

“It has been predicted that by 2050, millions of people could be forced from their lands by climate change. There are many factors that already contribute to thousands moving from northern Ghana in search of a better life. Some Christians think that their land is cursed. Many migrants end up in what some people perceive to be the ‘ecologically cursed’ parts of large cities,” says OMSC senior mission scholar in residence Dr. Allison M. Howell, an Australian who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her lecture will examine “the nature of Christian alertness and response to the signs of the times in this Ghanaian context.” A missionary researcher and teacher, Howell has served for ten years on the staff of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture as a senior research fellow and the dean of accredited studies.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dr. Mark R. Gornik

Urban Age, Urban Mission

“We live in an increasingly urban and globalized age. Today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. This number is estimated to increase to some 75 percent by 2050,” according to Dr. Mark R. Gornik, director of City Seminary of New York, an intercultural learning community that seeks “the peace of our city through theological education.” In his OMSC lecture, Gornik, author of To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City (2002) and Word Made Global (forthcoming), will address the questions, What form is urban mission taking around the world? How is the church engaging this change?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dr. Edward L. Cleary, O.P.

Catholicism Without Priests: An Historical Investigation of Latin America

“The shortage of Catholic clergy has become the major preoccupation of the Catholic Church in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Catholicism without priests has already been faced in Latin America in modern history,” says Dr. Edward L. Cleary, O.P., professor of political science and director of the Latin American Studies Program at Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island. He will discuss what happened when there were no priests, which is the central focus of a large research project; the Hermanos Cheos of Puerto Rico forms a part of the study and serves as the centerpiece of the lecture. Dr. Cleary is author of How Latin America Saved the Soul of the Catholic Church (forthcoming).

Spring 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dr. William R. Burrows

Trajectories in World Catholicism

As managing editor of Orbis Books until his retirement in February, William R. Burrows oversaw the publication of more than three hundred mission studies, interreligious dialogue, and world Christianity books, including History of the World Christian Movement: Earliest Christianity to 1453 (Irvin and Sundquist, 2001), The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in Transmission of Faith (Walls, 1996), and Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Bosch, 1991). A former S.V.D. priest who had trained in Rome and served in Papua New Guinea, Burrows is author of New Ministries: The Global Context (1980 and 2006). A contributing editor for the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Burrows is currently conducting research on the interaction between the peoples of northeast Papua New Guinea and the Divine Word missionaries.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dr. Eiko Takamizawa

Japanese Religiosity and Resistance to Christian Mission in Japan:
An Historical Interpretation

Dr. Eiko Takamizawa is associate professor of mission at Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology, Seoul, Korea, an interdenominational school that developed out of a five-year deliberation between the Korean Center for World Missions (Torch Missions Center) in Seoul and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. Takamizawa is the first Japanese female missiologist faculty member in Korea.  She was converted to Christianity from atheism while in college. After teaching in secular education for ten years, she dedicated herself to ministry and then studied for advanced degrees. She is pastor of a Japanese congregation in Seoul and has been a featured speaker for both Japanese and international conferences held in the United States, Brazil, Iran, Japan, and several other Asian countries.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dr. Tu Yichao

Billy Graham, American Evangelicals, and Sino-U.S. Relations

Dr. Tu Yichao, assistant professor in the Center for American Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, will highlight the important role that American evangelicals played in Sino-American relations during the second half of the twentieth century with particular focus on evangelist Billy Graham. Although an outspoken critic of Communism in the 1950’s, two decades later Graham was promoting the opening of Sino-American relations and paving the way for renewed missionary work in China. His evolving attitude toward China and its impact on Sino-American relations, according to Tu Yichao, a visiting scholar at Yale Divinity School, “provided a significant commentary on the changing perceptions and interactions between two world powers.” In 2007 Tu Yichao completed a Ph.D. at Fudan University, writing her dissertation on “American Evangelicals and International Relations: Using Billy Graham as a Case Study.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dr. Kevin Ward

Christianity, Revival, and the Rwandan Genocide

Dr. Kevin Ward, senior lecturer in African religious studies at the University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom, spent twenty years working in East Africa as a teacher and theological educator. He did his original research in Kenya, examining the problems of Protestant Christian ecumenical cooperation in colonial Kenya. An OMSC senior mission scholar in residence for the spring 2009 semester, Dr. Ward has continued to have a strong interest in East Africa, focusing on the history and spirituality of the East African Revival, church-state relations in Uganda, and the religious basis of conflict in Uganda. He is author of A History of Global Anglicanism (2006) and coeditor with Brian Stanley of The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799–1999 (1999).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dr. Edith L. Blumhofer

Protestants, Mormons, and Catholics:
19th-Century Perspectives on Proclaiming the Gospel

Dr. Edith L. Blumhofer is professor of history at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. An OMSC senior mission scholar in residence for the spring 2009 semester, she is researching three nineteenth-century British hymn writers—Frances Ridley Havergal, Cecil Frances Alexander, and Catherine Winkworth—for a forthcoming book. In addition, Dr. Blumhofer directs the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, Wheaton, Illinois, and is working with the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, on the Future of American Religion Project. She is a consulting editor for Christianity Today and The Christian Century. Dr. Blumhofer is author of People of Faith: A History of Western Christianity (2007) and Evangelicalism: A Very Short Introduction (forthcoming).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dr. Tian Ling

Changes in University Culture and the Implications of Christianity:
The Case of Peking University

In this lecture, Dr. Tian, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at Peking University and a visiting fellow at Yale University, will explore the process of China’s learning from the West and its relations with the founding of Peking University by discussing the relationship between social historical background and the shaping of the culture of Peking University. Finally, she will present the implications of Christianity for the changing culture of Peking University. Dr. Tian is author of several books including Series of Case Analysis of University Students’ Development (2008) and The Habitus of Peking University and Its Reproduction: The Integration and Analysis of Peking University’s Past and Present by Using Bourdieu’s Theory (2003).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dr. Najeeb Awad

Where is the Gospel? What Happened to Culture?
The Reformed Church in the Near East

Born in Lattakia, Syria, Dr. Najeeb Awad has taught since April 2005 in Lebanon, where he lectures in systematic theology at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut. He also has been editor-in-chief and moderator of Alnashra, the Arabic theological magazine of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. He was pastor of Alhaskeh National Presbyterian Church in northeastern Syria, where he also served as the director of youth ministry for Presbyterian churches in Syria. Awad points to his spiritual and intellectual journey with Christ as the driving force behind his academic pursuits. While studying with Miroslav Volf of Yale Divinity School, Awad is examining the relationship between Trinitarian theology and postmodern forms of intellectual inquiry. He is the author of two books in Arabic, God, Man, and Evil (2005) and The Passion Narrative in Matthew (2004).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Steven Cutting

The Asian Rural Institute: Training Leaders at the Grassroots

Steven Cutting is director of ecumenical relations for the Asian Rural Institute, Nasushiobara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan. A community-based training center located on a farm in northern Japan, ARI teaches rural community leaders practical leadership skills.

Participants learn how to observe and contribute to agricultural and community projects, analyze problems, implement solutions, and evaluate the process. ARI believes that the most effective way to become skilled in both leadership and agriculture is “learning by doing,” a philosophy practiced in almost all areas of the training program. It teaches rural communities how to develop food security and self-sufficiency through hands-on instruction.

At the heart of the program is the concept of “foodlife”—holding to significant value in human life and the food that sustains life. For more information, visit