Resisting Mission: Redefining Engagement

Resisting Mission: Redefining Engagement

Friday, January 23, 2009
10:00 a.m. -- 4:00 p.m. 
Swift Hall, 1025 E. 58th Street 
The University of Chicago

This conference is now over. Copies of the presentations will soon be available on this web page.

For centuries mission movements have created both connections and conflict around the world, both supporting and resisting empires and colonialism. Globalization has changed the dynamic for Christianity and other religious traditions, giving new prominence and power to the global South. This emerging shift in power (if not also privilege), especially in light of liberationist and post-colonial critiques of missionaries, has led many to seemingly resist "mission" entirely. How does this global turn in cultural alignments affect how we conceive and practice mission? This conference brought together global voices and advocates for mission for a re-evaluation of this critical religious practice. After a keynote by internationally-renowned scholar of global Christianity Lamin Sanneh, scholars and practitioners of explicitly religious and "secular" mission reflected on the constructive practices resistance. Seminary students, anthropologists of religion, theologians, and clergy were all challenged by the discussion.

10 AM: Welcome and keynote

Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity and Professor of History, Yale Divinity School

11:15: Mission in a Globalizing World

Malika Zeghal, Associate Professor of the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion and of Islamic Studies in the Divinity School
Susan Gzesh, Director, Human Rights Program and Senior Lecturer, Center for International Studies, University of Chicago
Peter Vethanayagamony, Associate Professor of Modern Church History at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago [pdf comments]

12:30: Lunch

1:30: Mission in Particular Places

Rev. Stacey Edwards Dunn, Executive Minister, Trinity United Church of Christ
Matthew Garr SJ, student at Catholic Theological Union [pdf comments]
Kim Lamberty
, Christian Peacemaker Teams [pdf comments]

2:45: Closing reflections from the conference planners

3:15: Reception

The conference was sponsored by the Border Crossing Project, an initiative at the Divinity School focusing on the relationship of the professions of teaching and ministry. The project is supported by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.