The years 2019-2020 provide significant anniversaries for important Reformed Church in America (RCA) mission programs. It will have been 130 years since James Cantine left to start the RCA mission program in the Middle East in 1889 and was joined by Samuel Zwemer in 1890. The mission to Japan was started 160 years ago, in 1859, while Ferris Seminary began in Yokohama in 1870. And 2020 celebrates the 200th anniversary of John and Harriet Scudder setting sail from New York; they would settle in India and start medical missions that continue to this day, including the Christian Medical College & Hospital in Vellore, started by their granddaughter, Ida. This also marked the beginning of an unbroken line of Scudder family missionaries that continued to the twenty-first century and encompassed over 1,000 years’ worth of missionary activity.
In recognition of these noteworthy mission milestones, the Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary is partnering with RCA Global Missions and the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University to host “Sent On Ahead: Looking at Groundbreaking Missions to India, Japan, and the Middle East” on Monday, November 18, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
|Anderson H.M. Jeremiah, lecturer in World Christianity and Religious Studies in the department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, United Kingdom, is a theologian and priest from the Church of South India, who does research into the lived facets of global Christianity and its theological and missional engagement with other faith communities. He will speak on the impact of Christian missions in India.|
|Eugene Heideman served as a Presbyter in the Madras Diocese of the Church of South India while a missionary of the Reformed Church in America, 1960-1970, then taught religion and Bible at Central College, Pella, Iowa, and then was on the faculty of Western Theological Seminary. From 1982 to his retirement in 1994, he was on the World Mission staff of the RCA, and has authored three books in The Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, including From Mission to Church: The Reformed Church in America Mission to India. He will give background on the Indian mission.|
|Fred Mueller is pastor of Hillsborough Reformed Church in Millstone, New Jersey, and the 2019-2020 Albert A Smith Fellow in Reformed Church History at NBTS. He will be looking at the role of his congregation and its then-pastor, Edward T. Corwin, in bringing Japanese students to Rutgers, NBTS, and Princeton Theological Seminary in the late nineteenth century.|
|Haruko Wakabyashi is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Asian Languages and Cultures Department at Rutgers. Her interest lies in the social, cultural, and intellectual development of medieval Japan (12th~16th c.), and the use of visual sources in the study of history. Next spring, she will be offering an Honors Seminar, “Rutgers Meets Japan: Revisiting Early U.S.-Japan Encounters.” She will be speaking on the effects of Christian missions on Japanese culture.|
|Gordon D. Laman served as a missionary in Japan for forty-three years, working in partnership with the Japanese church. Subsequently, he served for twenty-one years as a member of the faculty of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary as director of field education, and teaching courses in Asian mission and communication, while traveling throughout Japan as an itinerant evangelist on weekends. He will be speaking on the history and background of the RCA’s Japan mission.|
|Rev. Justin Meyers, Associate Director, Al Amana Centre|
|En Young Kim, coordinator for the RCA Council of Pacific and Asian-American Ministries and RCA mission programs in the Pacific, will reflect on current mission programs in Japan and how western Christianity and eastern society interact.|
|Douglas Leonard is the former director of the Al Amana Centre and of RCA Global Missions and current coordinator of the Ecumenical United Nations Office (EUNO), a joint working space of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance in New York City. He will address the impact of RCA missions in the Middle East and globally.|
Everyone is welcome to attend this event. There is a suggested donation of $15.00, payable at the event, which includes lunch, but everyone is welcome, regardless of ability to pay. Students at theological seminaries may come for free, as well as NBTS faculty and staff. RSVP by Wednesday, 13 November, by clicking here.