The OMSC Board of Trustees is welcoming two new members to its semi-annual meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 5-6, 2017. Bishop Ian Douglas is the 15th Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, serving approximately 168 parishes and faith commu-nities in the state. Mr. Siyoung Yu is Director of Agape Church for the Homeless in New Haven. He also serves as a system administrator at DXC. As Trustees they will serve up to three 3-year terms, participating in both committee meetings and board meetings. Bishop Douglas will begin his service on the Program Development committee and Mr. Yu will begin his service on the Property Management committee.
Special Sale Alert!
The Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity is currently being offered at the greatly reduced price of $74.95. AND, OMSC will receive $50 for each book purchased with the special coupon code "OMSC"
Please go to this link and remember to use coupon code OMSC to order your copy today: https://www.iccspress.com/…/Historical_Atlas_of_Ancient_Chr…
This new Historical Atlas is the first of its kind to provide a detailed picture of the early church’s physical presence in the empire, tracing Christianity’s geographical footprint upon the map of the ancient world. Complete with 59 full-color and detailed maps, illustrations of important monuments and places, and an up-to-date scholarly bibliography, the Historical Atlas serves both as a valuable reference work and a useful teaching tool. It will serve as an indispensable tool for those desiring to study the ancient Christian period in its historical as well as its geographical context. Fr. Angelo DiBerardino, former president of the Augustinianum in Rome has provided an expert guide through the early Christian world.
Combining the words “business” and “missionary” the job of the businary is to conduct their
business in such a way as to lead people to know more about Christ. For OMSC resident Jay*
(*name changed for security reasons) working as a Taekwondo instructor among Syrian children is both a challenge and an opportunity.
A native of South Korea, Jay is a businary in the Middle East where he is in the minority both in terms of his ethnicity and his religion. He was warned that working in this context might not bear any fruit, and the reality of the situation eventually took its toll. He became depressed at his lack of success and exhausted after working for many years without a break. If being in the Middle East was tough for him, it was equally tough for his family, including a daughter whose school experience among the Muslim majority is very difficult. Badly in need of a sabbatical, Jay applied to OMSC.
Jay and his family arrived in August 2017 and quickly made friends among the international
residential community. Here they have already found a place of healing – physically, spiritually,
and mentally. Living in a community of like-minded people and sharing experiences through
seminars and social events is good for the whole family, especially for Jay’s daughter. Here she
is able to connect with other “third culture” children, to live and to learn in a loving and
Despite the difficulties he and his family have encountered, Jay maintains his trust in God’s
direction and continues to work toward his vision of “sharing the good news to Muslims, and
encouraging them to share the good news among themselves.”
On Saturday, September 30, artist in residence Keng Sen Chong (Malaysia) and his wife, Ang
Ang, joined OMSC staff member Ray Sola and about 10,000 honeybees at the 18 th Annual
Brooksvale Fall Festival in Hamden, CT.
Keng Sen says, “Even though we live in the city back home in Malaysia, we have always loved
the countryside. So when we were able to go with Ray to a local fall festival and see the bees and honey from his apiary, we were naturally excited.” He further commented that he was “excited to learn about beekeeping. Now we can add that to the list of self-empowerment projects we can bring back to the Malaysian ethnic churches.”
Enjoying the rural setting and the crisp fall temperatures, Keng Sen quickly set about sketching the scenes around him while Ang Ang assisted Ray in educating festival attendees on the benefits of honeybees to the environment. While there, Keng Sen met local artist Kirsten Walker, a former park ranger at Brooksvale Park. He also took the opportunity to learn from other presenters in attendance and particularly enjoyed his conversation with colonial wood worker Jim Vibert. He remarks, “I was impressed by his knowledge and desire to keep alive traditional skills that once erected the barn and sheds dotting the park.” Summing up their experience at this local festival, Keng Sen and Ang Ang agree that “true to our expectations, we had a great time.”
The Yale-Edinburgh Conference was the setting for the unveiling of the newly renovated OMSC seminar room, now known as the Andrew F. Walls Conference Room. More than 85 people were in attendance as Executive Director Thomas Hastings, former Director Gerald H. Anderson, Dana Robert, and Lamin Sanneh paid tribute to Professor Walls. Walls has served as a lecturer for OMSC seminars for almost 40 years.
The Yale-Edinburgh Conference, held at Yale Divinity School, June 29- July 1, 2017 on the topic “Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage in the History of Missions and World Christianity,” was cosponsored by the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh, Yale Divinity School, and the Overseas Ministries Study Center.
OMSC expresses its deep gratitude to the following donors for their generous support of the Andrew F. Walls Conference Room:
Gerald and Joanne Anderson, Wonsuk and Julie Ma, Dwight and Lois Baker, Malcolm McGregor, Edith and Edwin Blumhofer, Eileen Moffett, Jonathan and Jean Bonk, Joon-Sik Park, David Dawson, David Reed, Thomas and Carol Hastings, Jamie Ross, George Hunsberger, Lamin Sanneh, Arun W. Jones, Judy and Robert Stebbins, Richard Fox Young
When Nathan Perng arrived on the OMSC campus in August, he was following in his father’s footsteps. His father Jacob, 85, a retired minister who served with the Lahu Baptist Convention and the Myanmar Baptist Convention, came to OMSC as a research scholar in 1990. Twenty-seven years later his son is happy for the opportunity to uphold this family legacy and to participate in seminars that will strengthen his understanding of intercultural ministries.
At home in Myanmar, Nathan is the Principal of the Lahu Theological Seminary and also serves as the President of the Lahu Baptist Convention. After being assigned to LTS in 1999, Nathan began planning to upgrade the seminary from undergraduate to graduate level courses. The seminary became a member school of the Association of Theological Education in Myanmar (ATEM). Nathan received his Master of Theology, then launched several new programs in the seminary. Continuing his own education, Nathan received his Doctor of Theology in 2010. Through his guidance, the seminary became a member of the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA) in 2014 and became accredited in 2016. His goal after finishing the program at OMSC is to return home and launch a Master of Divinity program at the theological seminary.
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Hastings and the OMSC staff welcomed the new class of residents participating in the study program at the annual welcome reception, held on Wednesday, September 6. This year’s class is comprised of 17 residents serving in Jordan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, and the United States. Together with their families, OMSC staff, and guests from the local community they had a chance to mingle and meet some new friends while tasting some delectable summer treats.
The OMSC community mourns the loss of former Trustee R. Donald MacDougall, who passed away on Saturday, June 17 at his home in Vero Beach, FL. Don served as the Treasurer of the OMSC Board of Trustees for 10 years. He is survived by his wife, Leigh, and his children Donna Leigh MacDougall and James Andrew MacDougall, and his granddaughter, Marley MacDougall. A celebration of his life was held at St. Augustine of Canterbury in Vero Beach on June 27.
On March 3, I embarked on my first international trip on behalf of OMSC. With invaluable practical support from the Korean Research Institute for Mission's Dr. Steve Moon (photo at right) and Chun Lee, his colleague and recent OMSC alumnus, a very busy agenda provided many chances to speak with alumni, missionaries, church leaders, seminary administrators and professors, and students. Starting and ending in Seoul, I also visited Cheonan, Gwangju, and Daejeon over the next 18 days, preaching, lecturing, sharing about OMSC’s work, and getting to know colleagues in God’s mission at KRIM, Sarang Church, Yonsei University Church and Chapel, Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Hoseo University and Theological Seminary, Honam University and Theological Seminary, First Presbyterian Church Daejeon, Torch Trinity University, Jiguchon Church, and Asian Mission. Everywhere I went, I received a warm and gracious welcome, meeting old friends of OMSC and many new ones.
In Seoul, I visited the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery and adjacent 100th Anniversary Memorial Church, whose volunteers maintain the cemetery and serve as tour guides for visitors from all over Korea and the world. I was moved to stand at the grave of Dr. Horace Underwood III, who was a great personal encouragement to me after Carol and I were appointed by the PC (USA) in 1988 as Mission Co-workers to Japan. Also, the grave of Gaichi Soda (1867–1962), a Japanese man who had a ministry for Korean orphans, is a powerful symbol of hope for peace and reconciliation between neighboring countries who share a troubled history. In Gwangju, colleagues from Honam Seminary took me on a sobering and painful visit to the National Cemetery (photo at left), honoring the hundreds of mostly young students who were killed by S. Korea's military government during the uprising of May 18–27, 1980, evidently with tacit support from the U.S. government.
In Daejeon, I was asked to speak to mission agency leaders, pastors, and missionaries on “Retired Missionaries and the Church,” because about one-third of the 21,000 Korean missionaries serving today will be retiring by 2020! It was very clear from the reaction to my talk that churches and mission agencies have not planned to provide for these retirees.
One theme that kept coming up in conversations was the sense of feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted or burnt out. This came as something of a surprise, given the reputation of the Korean churches for their vitality. One seminary professor told me that his students send him messages at all hours of the night, often interrupting his and his wife's sleep. When I suggested he turn off his phone, he said he would rather respond than deal with the wrath of young students who expect an immediate answer.
The day before leaving Seoul, I was interviewed by the Kukmin Daily, a leading newspaper owned by the Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest church in the world. The senior reporter, to whom I was introduced by current OMSC residents Mi Ok Kim and Seong Il Lee, asked me what I had learned from my trip and what I would like to share with Korean church leaders, and I said without hesitation, “Christians are human beings who need Sabbath. We need to honor our limitations as creatures of God and recognize that we cannot do everything.”
On the final leg of my journey, I stopped off in Japan for a week. In Tokyo, I met with Rev. Hikari Kokai-Chang of the Wesley Foundation to discuss ways we might partner together in God’s mission. The next day, former OMSC Artist-in-Residence Soichi Watanabe, his wife, Nao, and their daughter, Manna, warmly welcomed me to their home where we shared a lovely meal and several hours of conversation. Then I went to Kobe where I met up with some of my former students at the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary and, on the final weekend of the trip, had the opportunity to meet with church members, preach, and lecture at a celebration honoring Ichibaku Church’s 70th anniversary. Ichibaku was founded by Kagawa Toyohiko, the great evangelist and social reformer I have been researching for several years.
After the trip, I pondered some tough questions. Does the immediacy of digital links strengthen or weaken the ties that bind us? If our technologies make us feel depleted and if we lose touch with loved ones and ourselves, how will this effect our relation to God and our effectiveness as Christ’s witnesses? The trip and my subsequent reflections reconfirmed OMSC’s enduring calling and relevance and strengthened my resolve to do everything I can to build on the great legacy of this ministry while seeking additional supporters who will, with God’s help, enable us to continue to thrive into our second century (2022–).
In such a time as this, missionaries, church leaders, and research scholars from every nation and church tradition still need a place like OMSC, a unique international community where “everyone is received as Christ” (Matthew 25:35 and Rule of St. Benedict 53:1), and where cross-cultural workers find spiritual, physical, intellectual, and professional renewal. Please
join us as we engage in mission with the world Christian community by becoming a regular contributor yourself, and please ask your congregation to include OMSC in your annual giving. You may send a check or give securely online.
With thanks and blessings,
More than three dozen mission leaders from the United States and the United Kingdom convened in New Haven from April 21-23 to learn from each other and to share their perspectives on “Mission and Refugees: Crisis and Opportunity.”
Participants heard from a dynamic group of speakers, including Chris George, Executive Director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, CT, Judith Mayotte, Ethicist and Author of Disposable People? The Plight of Refugees, and Rachel Uthmann, Director of Training for International Association for Refugees. Participants came away with a deepened sense of awareness of the political, cultural, and missional complexities of the refugee crisis and a sense of the urgency of this crisis for the world and the churches.
The next meeting of the MLF is scheduled for April 6–8, 2018 at OMSC. The theme we plan to explore is "Christian Witness and Building Bridges with Muslim Communities."
Five OMSC residents took the lead in March as they put their Scripture-based trauma healing lessons to work, this time as workshop facilitators. Having participated as students in a trauma healing workshop earlier in the year, they put what they learned to good use for 10 members of the local community.
Participants attended sessions on two consecutive Saturdays in March. Through the workshops they discovered:
- What the Bible says about suffering;
- The effects of trauma;
- How to explore their own personal trauma and loss;
- How to release emotional pain; and
- How to reconnect and build resilience for the future.
Facilitator Funmi Kehinde (pictured) shared what one participant said: “I am totally blessed by this seminar…I pray that God creates an avenue for this seminar to reach a wider audience.” Plans are already underway for residents to bring this workshop to their own countries of service when they return home .
Paul Kretschmann is a husband, father and retired attorney, formerly a partner of several New York City law firms. He is a Deacon and a past trustee of First Congregational Church of Greenwich, CT, (UCC) and continues to be actively engaged in various church and community organizations.
Steven Maasbach is the chair of the Board of the Beulah Land Development Corporation, a non-profit that aims to rebuild New Haven's most underserved communities. Steven received his Master of Divinity from Yale. He resides in Woodbridge, CT, with his wife and two children.
On Tuesday, May 9, the 2016-17 academic year officially came to an end when residents who had participated in the OMSC study program received their Certificate in Mission Studies in a ceremony at the Center. For those who live in areas of the world where Christians are in the minority and must worship under the watchful eyes of unsympathetic governments, the opportunity to participate openly in discussions and seminars on mission-related topics was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Supported also by the researchers and staff who make up the OMSC community, residents received their certificates from Dr. Thomas Hastings, Executive Director of OMSC.
Residents described their time at OMSC as helping them not only to form friendships, but also to widen their intercultural understanding and help to prepare them for the next phase of their ministries. The ceremony was followed by a farewell luncheon.
Why do people support OMSC? Speaking at a Pastors’ Mission Luncheon earlier this year, Global Missions Pastor Larry Fullerton (Black Rock Church, Fairfield) shared four reasons why he believes in OMSC and its mission:
OMSC is truly international. Missionaries living and studying at OMSC are serving in countries other than where they were born. They are Indians serving the Islamic world, Africans ministering to Asia, and Latinos working in Europe.
OMSC is local, located in New Haven, literally across the street from the Yale Divinity School. As a Missions Pastor in a church less than one hour’s drive from OMSC, I have, almost at my doorstep, a cohort of missionaries from around the world. Where else can I find missionaries who minister in limited access countries or who teach at some of the great international missionary schools and seminaries?
OMSC is ecumenical. It is one of the few places, possibly in all Christendom, where you can find Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, liberal, charismatic, and evangelical missionaries and scholars living and growing together. I serve in an evangelical church and it is refreshing to be confronted with the fact that the church crosses all man-made boundaries.
Finally, OMSC has enriched my life. It has had a powerful impact on me, not only as a Missions Pastor but also as a Christ-follower. I remember sitting in a seminar led by Dr. Andrew Walls and coming away with a new understanding of the spread of Christianity. I remember sitting in a leadership seminar at OMSC where we had a very frank discussion about racism and the mission field. It was at OMSC where I first heard of Operation World’s prayer guide and its emphasis on the necessity of praying for the nations. OMSC has enriched and challenged my soul.
If home is where the heart is, then Kenya is definitely home to OMSC alum Marta Bennett. Born and raised in the United States, Marta first travelled to Kenya while pursuing her doctorate in leadership studies at Seattle University, while working at Seattle Pacific University as the Director of Campus Ministries. Although she expected that traveling more than 9,000 miles from Seattle to Kenya would be the experience of a lifetime, she had no idea that God was about to direct her path in an unexpected way.
Nairobi, a Maasai phrase meaning “place of the cool waters,” is the capitol city of Kenya and is the largest city between Cairo, Egypt and Johannesburg, South Africa. It was here, while working on her dissertation research, Marta fell in love with Kenya. After completing her degree, she moved permanently to Nairobi to teach at Daystar University, where she eventually became dean of postgraduate studies.
Marta’s teaching responsibilities soon branched out to other schools as well, and by 2006 she had joined the faculty of Nairobi International School of Theology (now known as International Leadership University). Focused on developing Christian leaders for both church and society, ILU also has schools in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, and Burundi.
Though Marta’s career was fulfilling, her heart was burdened by the large number of children she saw in need. So, with God directing her path once again, she pursued adoption and was
soon sharing her home with son, Justin, daughter, Sara Imani and foster son, Steven. As her children grew, she knew it was time to share with them part of her own heritage.
So, in 2011, Marta, Justin and Sara Imani made the long journey to New Haven to become part of the international residential community at OMSC while Steven remained in Nairobi to pursue his studies.
As Justin began 8th grade and Sara Imani started 6th, both were concerned about making friends and learning in an American system so different from the Kenyan British-based system at home. Justin quickly found his niche through joining the New Haven Youth Soccer league, along with a few classmates and two other boys whose families also lived at OMSC.
Sara Imani took longer. She confesses that for the first three months, she found an excuse to go to the friendly school nurse almost daily, who provided a safe haven and welcoming words. Eventually, she made several close friends at school, joined the girls’ hip hop dance team, and settled in well. At the end of the school year, Sara Imani wrote thank you notes to many, and especially appreciated Nurse Janice, noting, “I’m sorry I haven’t been coming by very much lately – but at the beginning of the year, you were my only friend. I’m so glad you were here.” At OMSC she was happy for piano lessons, excursions, and family time together.
Meanwhile, Marta took full advantage of attending the many seminars offered with leading scholars and visitors from around the world. As she soaked in the content and lively interactions, the year provided her with an opportunity to step back and to reflect on the Gospel as it is lived out in East Africa and beyond, to be refreshed through fellowship with other residents, and to make forays into the wealth of resources at the Yale Divinity School Library, to study, write, and enrich her teaching upon return to Nairobi.
Fast forward to May 2017, and Justin has just completed his freshman year at Penn State University. In his application to university, he cited his year at OMSC as a significant contributing factor in preparation for his studies in the US. Marta and Sara Imani (who is finishing her junior year of high school in Kenya), were recently explaining the photo on their fridge to a house guest. The photo displays all the 2011/2012 OMSC residents and staff outside in front of OMSC. Together they reminisced about the friendships made, the adventures experienced, the monthly community dinners, and the gift of that year apart together as a family.
Ministry for Marta is expanding, even as she remains based in East Africa. After serving as the Head of Department of Leadership Studies, then as the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at ILU in Nairobi, she is now narrowing her engagement to teaching and supervising Masters and PhD students in their research and writing. This allows her to become more involved in leadership development and discipleship in her local Kenyan church, with its rapidly expanding outreach and church plants, as well as to invest more in grass root ministries being launched by former students in Rwanda, South Sudan, and Kenya. Home is where the heart is, and Marta’s heart is in Kenya.
Joy Pachuau has been a part of the OMSC community throughout the 2016–2017 academic year while working at Yale, in the Program in Agrarian Studies at the Macmillan Center, on a Fulbright-Nehru Academic Excellence Fellowship. She is a professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and was recently interviewed on the MacMillan Report about her latest book: Being Mizo: Identity and Belonging in Northeast India.
On April 29, art lovers and friends of OMSC gathered for a Gala and Silent Art Auction. Guests had the opportunity to meet our current artist, Ronnie Farmer, Jr., who unveiled his latest painting, a meditation on the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1–8) entitled Agony: A Cry for Justice. Proceeds from the event raised more than $13,000 for the artist in residence
On April 1, the Horace G. Underwood Center for Global Christianity at New Brunswick Theological Seminary presented the Underwood Lecture & Symposium: Missiological Challenges in a Globalized Context.
The keynote speaker was the Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell, Palmer Theological Seminary. Panelists for the Symposium were two OMSC residents: Rev. Dr. Ravi David and Rev. Kola Michael Kehinde, as well as OMSC's Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Hastings.
Did you miss the event? NBTS has made a video recording available on their Facebook page.
St. John’s University, Jamaica, Queens, New York City.
August 11-13, 2017
Scheduled Keynote Speakers: Father Joseph Jiang, S.J., Boston College
Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti Archbishop Eugene Nugent: From 2001 until 2010 he directed the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong.
Saturday August 12 sessions: Father Zhang, Biblical Studies Professor, China;
Father Tommy Murphy, S.S.C., Former Columbans Superior General; Sister Rita Hongyan Ge, Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Hope, MA Candidate in Spirituality, Loyola University of Chicago; Joann Pittman, China Source; Father Michael Li, China; Dr. Joseph Lee, Professor of History and Executive Director, Confucius Institute, Pace University, NYC; various representatives and laity from U.S. Chinese Catholic communities and associations.
Saturday afternoon Chinese Catholic liturgy, Chinese banquet, and cultural evening presentation
Sunday morning August 13 Plenary Session: Interdisciplinary Scholarly Exchange on Christianity in China and modern topics of Catholic religion. Scholars, graduate students and others may submit proposals and will remain open until all panels are filled.
General public, students and scholars are welcome to attend. Register at www.uscatholicchina.org.
Early bird registration till July 21, 2017
Questions: Contact Executive Director Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P., Ph.D.
OMSC Trustee Lamin Sanneh presented his latest book, Beyond Jihad, to Pope Francis at the February 9 meeting of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims. Dr. Sanneh is the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity, Professor of History, and Professor of International and Area Studies at Yale University.