Executive Director Tom Hastings of the Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC) and President Craig Barnes of Princeton Theological Seminary signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday to relocate OMSC’s operations and programs to the Princeton Theological Seminary campus beginning in summer 2020. OMSC is a renowned research institute for world Christianity and a gathering place for global Christian leaders. For more information please click here.
On Tuesday May 7, 2019, the staff, trustees and friends of OMSC celebrated the resident class of 2018 – 2019 with a certificate ceremony and luncheon at the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, CT. We have been honored to get to know these wonderful scholars, pastors, missionaries and artists that have studied and fellowshipped with us the past year. They have inspired us and we wish our class of 2019 safe travels and many blessings in their ministries as they return to their home communities around the world this summer.
Dr. Thomas Hastings, OMSC Executive Director, gave a heart-felt and beautiful message and led us in prayer at the ceremony. We closed the ceremony with the classic hymn written by William Howard Doane (whose daughters honored by founding OMSC in 1922 as a place of rest, renewal and empowerment for missionaries from around the world), "To God be the Glory.". After the ceremony we had a wonderful time of fellowship and celebration at a luncheon hosted by staff in our main building.
This week at OMSC Dr. Charles Van Engen explores mission leader history and how we can train theologically grounded mission leaders in an ever changing and diverse world today. Throughout the history of Christian mission, one of the essential elements of missionary concern and action has been the formation of theologically, biblically, and missiologically grounded church and mission leaders. The need is as great today as it has been in the past. Church revitalization and mission mobilization the world over depend very much on the vision, expertise, giftedness, and commitment of leaders to global evangelization. For their leadership to be consistent with God's mission, their formation in being, knowing, doing, and serving need to be permeated by biblical, theological, and missiological insight. This seminar will explore elements of the history, theory, praxis, best practices, and issues facing the global church in forming a new generation of missionary leaders. Cosponsored by Black Rock Congregational Church & Resonate Global Mission.
The Third Annual OMSC Art Gala was a fun and inspiring evening of wonderful art, music, dance and fellowship.
This week OMSC residents are learning and sharing their perspectives and experiences in regard to global missions.
OMSC’s seminar leader for this week is Dr. Darrell Guder, who is the professor of missional and ecumenical theology emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. His work on both sides of the North Atlantic has focused upon mission in a time of change. In the last decades he has been especially involved in “the missional church initiative” in its relevance for declining western Christendom and the global Christian movement. He coordinated and edited the research project that produced the study, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America” (1998). He continued that discussion in The Continuing Conversion of the Church (2000), and Called to Witness: Doing Missional Theology (2015), and in many chapters, essays, and articles. Please click on below photos to view a slideshow from today’s session. All are welcome to join OMSC residents for this seminar and future seminars by clicking here.
OMSC congratulates Allyson McKinney Timm, who led an empowering and inspirational seminar at OMSC last week, for her well earned recognition.
Allyson McKinney Timm is an elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). She is a theologically trained human rights attorney whose commitment to justice ministry inspired her to establish Justice Revival, a nonprofit organization that works to motivate, educate, and mobilize Christian communities to respond faithfully to the biblical call to justice by standing in solidarity with the oppressed and defending the human rights of all. Justice Revival offers training programs that explore the biblical imperative to pursue justice in the context of the modern human rights movement.
This week at OMSC we are blessed with the knowledge and heart of Allyson McKinney Timm from Justice Revival. Allyson is a theologically trained human rights lawyer whose commitment to justice ministry has been inspired by her faith journey. Her writing has appeared in Sojourners, California Lawyer, USA Today and The Independent. OMSC residents are sharing their stories of Human Rights & Justice in the communities they live and serve in, while gaining valuable knowledge from the wealth of experience of Allyson. For more information on this seminar or to register to attend one or more sessions this week, please click here. For a glimpse of this fascinating and inspirational seminar, please click on the photos in the gallery below to view.
The Overseas Ministries Study Center’s 3rd Annual Art Gala will be on April 14, 2019.
To benefit the OMSC Artist in Residence Program
SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2019
5:00 - 7:30 P.M.
(Black tie optional)
Artist and Cultural Shaper
2018 - 2019 OMSC Artist in Residence
There will be a Live Auction
and artwork from past artists will also be available for purchase
Tickets $100 per person / $150 per couple
CLICK TO REGISTER: https://www.omsc.org/artgala2019
The Art Gala will be held at OMSC
490 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT
(Additional parking is available at Celentano School on Canner Street, a short one block walk to OMSC).
OMSC residents and staff had a great afternoon and evening of fellowship and fun learning how to ski at Mohawk Mountain in Northwestern Connecticut on January 25, 2019. Please enjoy the slideshow of photographs by clicking on the first photo.
LAMIN SANNEH (1942–2019)
A BELOVED OMSC TRUSTEE AND FRIEND
Professor Lamin Sanneh died suddenly and unexpectedly on Epiphany Sunday, January 6, 2019. Lamin was a professor at Yale Divinity School and Yale University, trustee of OMSC, and contributing editor of the IBMR.
A recognized pioneer in the exploding interdisciplinary field of World Christianity, Lamin was a rare scholar who combined rhetorical eloquence with scholarly erudition, and religious conviction with child-like curiosity. Arguing, for example, that the missionary movement's greatest gift to the peoples of the world was Bible translation, he sought to free us from our presuppositions and hubris, saying, "It is not so much that the West transmitted the gospel to world but that the cultures of the world discovered the gospel when they heard the Bible in their mother tongues." This profound insight from a convert from Islam into the intrinsic and infinite translatability of the gospel still has not been understood or heeded by much of the Western theological academy.
Lamin believed it is high time for the churches of the West to get over their guilt complex about the missionary movement and recognize that the center of Christianity has shifted to the global South. In a Washington Post tribute, Dana Robert commented, “The colonial guilt was so huge that Westerners were completely bogged down in self-flagellation about colonialism, rather than seeing the growth of the church in other ways and other places. The fact that he was a distinguished African scholar saying this blew the lid off mission studies and opened the way to what we now call world Christianity, which is looking at local cultures in dialogue with a world tradition.” In the past thirty years, there is hardly a dissertation in the fields of Missiology, World Christianity, Missional Theology, or Intercultural Theology that fails to reference Sanneh’s work.
Next I want to offer brief reflections as the Executive Director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center. Lamin's death has hit us really hard at OMSC, because this place was the “home away from home” he loved and to which he returned again and again. We really miss this great man who was unapologetic in his love for this institution and our staff. While all of us warmly welcomed Lamin whenever he came through the front door at 490 Prospect Street in New Haven, Judy Stebbins and Pam Huffman deserve special mention. Indeed, they should be counted among Lamin's closest and most faithful friends and confidents. Week after week, month after month, year after year, this welcoming, generous, and sensitive tag team provided the healing presence, listening ear, and water, tea, or wine he needed when he was depleted from teaching, lecturing, or traveling. We have Judy and Pam to thank for always being there for Lamin.
I will miss our late afternoon chats in the OMSC kitchen or parlor. He often told me he was at heart a frustrated theologian who sometimes wondered if he had missed his calling. I would assure him by saying that I’ve found all of his writings to be infused with the evangel, and that is why he has attracted so many seekers, students, and scholars across geographical and religious boundaries. At the same time, he would express puzzlement and exasperation with the status of theology in the academy today. With ironic wit he would quip, "Why does it sometimes seem that Christian profession of faith is suppressed in schools of divinity and theology? Nonsense!"
We were not prepared for Lamin's sudden departure, though I must say, upon reflection, it seems remarkably characteristic. All with whom he worked knew that he was notoriously hard to pin down. He always came through, albeit often at the eleventh hour. I think he knew that he needed to preserve his limited strength carefully for the times it really was required, so what may have been perceived by some as aloofness was more likely a survival mechanism complemented by his shyness, reticence, and humility.
Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
We will close with the words of tribute to Lamin by Andrew Walls, another dear friend of OMSC: “Visionary, man of faith, scholar, teacher, writer, architect, motivator, networker, dear friend and pillar of our fellowship – let us give thanks for the life and work of Lamin Sanneh, remembering his widow Sandra, his children and grandchildren, and all those who will miss him most.”
Music has always been important to the life of the church. This weeks’ seminar led by Dr. James Krabill examines case studies from the Bible, mission history, and faith communities in the Global South to draw lessons for the church today. Music recordings, video clips, and story-telling has been shared by participants from their own fascinating church life and ministries. Cosponsored by Mennonite Central Committee.
This week OMSC residents and outside auditors have been inspired and empowered to write their own story. This wonderful journey is being led by Dr. Leslie Williams. Dr. Williams has taught writing for over twenty years to students at Midland College in Texas. She is a former Fellow of Yale Divinity School, where she has researched and written her own books, most recently a biography of Reformer Thomas Cranmer, Henry VIII’s first Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury (Eerdmans), and a contemporary defense of Christianity, When Anything Goes: Being Christian in a Post-Christian World (Abingdon).
This week our workshop has focused on the importance of telling your own story, learning how to communicate your faith journey to others using the written word. Writing an autobiographical story is not the same as writing a sermon, a treatise, or an analysis of your faith; it requires a different vocabulary, structure, and mind-set. The workshop has focused on how each believer continues to spread the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, telling how He has moved in each particular life, as we seek to spread his kingdom to others through our faith.
Enjoy the below slideshow of this week’s seminar by clicking on the photo below.
This week OMSC residents and visiting auditors have been enjoying a wonderful seminar: A CONNECTED HISTORY OF MISSION: COMPLEX PEOPLE; CONJOINED PLACES; COMPOSITE PROJECTS by Mrinalini and Jayakiran Sebastian. Please click below photo to view more photos from today’s seminar.
“Intercultural Theology regards visual arts, literature, film etc. as equivalent sources to theological texts.” says Dr. Volker Küster, Professor of Missiology and Comparative Religion
Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.
This informative and thought provoking OMSC seminar gives an introduction to Intercultural Theology through its aesthetic dimension and explains basic terminology and theories of this thriving new field. The seminar will give an introduction in how to interpret Christian art from Asia and Africa. It reconstructs historical developments and introduces contemporary local artists and their works. How does the Christian faith interact with the cultural-religious dimension of a particular context? We want to decipher the exchanges between at least two iconographic systems. Sometimes we will also come across an expressionism that calls for justice and liberation for the poor and oppressed and allows a glimpse of the socio-economic and political realities of the country. More on this seminar can be found here. Photos from day two of the seminar are below.
Written by OMSC Senior Mission Scholar Dr. Atola Longkumer:
The OMSC residents and the Eastern Fellowship of Professors of Mission, led by Tom and Carol Hastings, was received with warm hospitality by the Maryknoll Sisters. During the welcome fellowship, our hearts were stirred with the sharing by the sisters of their service in places such as Cambodia, Peru, El Salvador and Myanmar. The Maryknoll Sisters’ intentional attentions to the most vulnerable in these contexts reminded us of the immense love of the good news. All the presentations and conversations around the theme “Cutting Edges” were inspiring, and they opened new windows to the richness of mission studies and world Christianity. The presentations of Mark Gornik and Michelle Sigg especially brought home the need to strive for innovative ways to participate in God’s mission, through radical community engagement and inquiry into the traditions of Christianity to re-discover the faithful commitment to the good and flourishing of all.
An added bonus to the beautiful weekend at the 101st anniversary of the EFPM was the fiesta of viewing the brilliant and vibrant colors of the autumn leaves, truly a reflection of God’s majesty.
The active stewardship of resources and the deep love of the Maryknoll Sisters illustrated the faithful service required of me in my commitment to the work of God’s good news.
Please click the below photos to enjoy a slideshow of photographs from the wonderful weekend of study and fellowship.
Dr. Esther Acolatse leads a powerful and in-depth study this week on the Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West. For more information on the seminar, click here. Click on the below photo to view a slideshow of day one of the seminar.
During the month of November, OMSC will be posting some photos, videos and stories from our current international residents and other friends and supporters of OMSC over the years on Facebook. We encourage you to view these inspirational stories and visit our Facebook page daily here. Please like our page and follow OMSC while you are there. Feel free to share our posts with your friends, family and co-workers as well. With the holiday season approaching, as well as Giving Tuesday, we at OMSC want to give our thanks to all of you for your continued support of the Overseas Ministries Study Center and our events and programs that serve and help many people locally, nationally and internationally. With your support we have been engaging in mission with the world christian movement since 1922. Thank you!
October, 23, 2018
Today OMSC and our residents welcome Dr. Harriet Hill and Rev. Wesley Neal to the Andrew F. Walls Conference Room for an in-depth and impactful seminar on Healing the Wounds of Trauma: Help for Ourselves and Others. The seminar is from Tuesday, October 23rd to Friday, October 26th and is open to everyone. To register for this, and other insightful seminars, please click here.
Dr. Harriet Hill is Program Director for the Trauma Healing Institute at American Bible Society. She has been involved in trauma healing since 2001 and is one of the authors of Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help. Before joining ABS, she worked from 1978–2010 with SIL in Africa and then internationally in Bible Translation and Scripture Use. Harriet received her Ph.D. from Fuller School of Intercultural Studies in 2003 in the area of communication of Scripture. Her other books include Bible Translation at Cultural Crossroads (2006), Translating the Bible into Action (2008) and Bible Translation Basics (2011). At this point she is a world citizen, having lived cross-culturally for most of her adult life. She is married to Ralph and has three married children and four grandchildren. Cosponsored by Trinity Baptist Church
Rev. Wesley Neal is a pastor and church planter from Durham, North Carolina. Ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1999, he has served as a pastor, community developer, and, until recently as a missionary serving in Fiji. Rev. Neal is a Master Facilitator through the Trauma Healing institute and has experience facilitating healing groups and training sessions in two settings: in the aftermath of the devastation caused in Fiji by Cyclone Winston in 2016, and in an urban ministry setting in the United States among people in recovery from addictions. Rev. Neal is married and he and his wife have two teenage children.
Please click the below photo to view a slideshow of our first day.
OMSC residents traveled north to Kent, CT on Saturday, October 20th to see the sights and enjoy some wonderful fellowship together. A BIG thank you to All-Star Transportation and Heather, our awesome bus driver, for taking OMSC residents on a magical bus tour to Kent, CT! Click below photos to view a gallery of the fun day. Enjoy!
South Hamilton, MA — Scott William Sunquist, Ph.D., the Senior Mission Scholar at OMSC for the fall semester 2017-2018 academic year and Dean of the School of Intercultural Studies and Professor of World Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, has been elected by the Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees to succeed Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger as the seventh President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The staff, Trustees, residents and friends of the Overseas Ministries Study Center extend our congratulations to Scott and his wife Nancy!
To read the full story please click here.