Task Force to Develop New Center on World Christianity

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dean Richard B. Hays has announced the creation of a task force to guide the development of a new Duke Divinity School initiative, tentatively named the Center for World Christianity.

The new center is envisioned as an expansion of the work of the school’s Center for Reconciliation (CFR) and will draw upon the efforts of faculty members whose research, teaching, and service intersect in various ways with the growing and diverse Christian communities around the world. By engaging faculty and students in this work, the center intends to foster a fruitful collaboration and synthesis between research and teaching on the one hand, and active engagement in service on the other. To accomplish this, the expanded center is expected to incorporate and continue many of the CFR’s current programs while also drawing on a wider range of faculty, staff, and student involvement.

The members of the task force are Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology; Xi Lian, professor of world Christianity; Kate Bowler, assistant professor of the history of Christianity in the United States; Luke Bretherton, associate professor of theological ethics; Edgardo Colón-Emeric, assistant professor of Christian theology; Eboni Marshall Turman, assistant research professor of Black Church studies and director of the Office of Black Church Studies; Sujin Pak, assistant research professor of the history of Christianity and associate dean for academic programs; and Abi Riak, manager of operations and programs for the CFR. Davis and Lian will serve as co-chairs and will guide task force members in a process to envision and plan a structure for the proposed center.

For the last nine years, the CFR has been led by Chris Rice, who recently announced that he will be stepping down at the end of June in preparation for starting a new position with his wife Donna as co-representatives to Northeast Asia for the Mennonite Central Committee in October 2014.  During the transition period before the launch of the new center, the majority of the CFR’s programs, including the African Great Lakes Initiative, the Summer Institute for Reconciliation (scheduled for June 2-7, 2014), and the emergent Northeast Asia Forum for Reconciliation, will continue under the CFR.

The new center, which will ultimately be led by a faculty director and a faculty oversight committee, is expected to launch in the fall of 2015.