SIM History Conference: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (99672)
SIM has made a footprint on the African continent. In the century following its beginning in 1893, SIM spread across the continent, bringing Christianity to hundreds of people groups in more than 30 modern African nations. It has left in its wake dozens of church denominations whose members now number in the millions. SIM has also helped to start or has influenced the growth of mission sending movements in the continent.
This footprint has never been submitted to in-depth, scholarly examination from within or without the mission. A rich yet very complex past remains scattered throughout diaries, letters, meeting minutes, articles, autobiographies, a number of books and, of course, living memories.
SIM leaders believe the time has come to invite a serious, multi-disciplinary examination of the mission's past—bringing to light its significance in African Church history and the relationships that emerged between SIM missionaries and Africans on the continent.
To this end, SIM International, in collaboration with SIM Ethiopia, will host the mission’s first-ever History Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from July 9-13, 2013. The conference will focus on SIM’s work in Africa where the vast majority of scholarship on the mission’s history is already being conducted. The theme is “SIM and African Christianity, 1893-2000.”
Two dozen scholars plan to present papers. Many are Africans from SIM-related churches and past or present SIM missionaries. Others are present or retired university professors from North America, Europe and Africa. To date they represent 23 institutions.
Assembling a group of scholars and many practitioners to discuss the mission’s history will give SIM the opportunity to, as was explained in a letter to prospective participants:
… find new connections about the work of SIM in various parts of Africa, and collaborate in forming a more integrated and comprehensive picture of the mission’s history. Examining SIM’s history closely will also express responsibility for the mission’s footprint in Africa. In addition, it will provide missionaries, church leaders, academics and others with a venue to examine the relevance of mission in new ways, see more clearly how SIM’s past actions influence current situations, give the mission new ways to apply the past as it evaluates the present and plans the future, and raise visibility in the discipline of African church history of SIM and the denominations that have grown out of the mission’s work on the continent.
SIM plans to publish the best papers in a book. The last significant book that treated SIM’s overall story was A Flame of Fire, a biography of Rowland Bingham by Jim Hunter, published in 1961.
By faith, SIM International has committed to pay in-country costs of each participant, and to pay transportation costs of African presenters. To cover these expenses, and to help some of the non-African scholars to make the trip, the conference will cost at least US$32,000.
SIM invites you to pray with us as we plan, and that you will consider giving to help underwrite the expenses. If you would like to support this History Conference, please contact your nearest SIM office of give online to project 99672. Thank you and God bless!
For additional inqueries, please contact our SIM Historian, Dr. Tim Geysbeek at International.Archives@sim.org.
For a growing collection of periodicals, theses, interviews, manuscripts, and books, visit http://archives.sim.org.
To date, the prospective participants who have responded positively to the invitation to present papers represent these institutions:
Project Number: 99672 Current Funding Progress:
Note: Financial information is updated quarterly and therefore may not reflect the data reported in a more recent article.