Yale-Edinburgh Group
Founded in 1992 to study the development of world Christianity

Yale-Edinburgh Group on World Christianity and the History of Mission

The Yale-Edinburgh Group is an informal group of scholars founded in 1992 by Andrew Walls of the University of Edinburgh and Lamin Sanneh of Yale University. The Group’s conferences and LISTSERV facilitate discussion and exchange of information about the development of world Christianity and historical aspects of mission, with special emphasis on the sources for documentation. The conferences are sponsored by the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh and the Yale Divinity School.

The 2023 Yale-Edinburgh Group conference will be hosted by the University of Edinburgh. See below for the Call for Papers. For more information about the Yale-Edinburgh Group, contact:

Martha Smalley
Yale Divinity Library
409 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Yale-Edinburgh 2023

Conference information and Call for papers


The conference will be held at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, Edinburgh from 21st -23rd June 2023. Registration is now available online. For further information about the conference, please email cswc-events@ed.ac.uk.

Our theme in 2023 is Creation, Climate Change, and World Christianity.

In order to maximise accessibility and be mindful of sustainability, the in-person conference in Edinburgh will incorporate hybrid content from Nairobi, Singapore, and São Paulo. We expect all speakers to be presenting from Edinburgh, with the exception of keynotes separately organized by one of our hubs.

Call for papers

The natural environment influences the perspectives and activities of Christian groups and peoples. At a time when rapid climate change challenges and disrupts the lives of humans and animals, our theme provides plenty of scope for examining the responses of Christians worldwide, past and present, to the planet.

The first article of the Apostle’s Creed asserts that Christians uphold a God Who is ‘Creator of Heaven and Earth’. However, Christianity has sometimes appeared to focus more closely on the heavenly realm than on the earthly realm. Theologies underscoring the domination of creation have overridden theologies of care and concern over the natural order. Missionaries and migrants have been at the mercy of the seas. Under the influence of romantic idealisation of pristine lands and unspoilt ‘primitive’ peoples, missionaries romanticised rural villages and communities untouched by modern vices as sites of religious transformation. Other missionaries were keen amateur botanists and geographers. How did their assumptions and knowledge influence understanding of the natural environment? What did they learn from people connected with the land, the sea, and their plants and animals? In what ways did indigenous communities around the world relate Christianity to their natural landscapes and animal worlds? In contemporary Christianity, where are the movements responding to the climate crisis or theologies developing from land rights or a reduction in bio-diversity? How, for example, are Pacific islanders responding theologically and practically to the threat of the rise in sea-levels? Or those living in the Amazon rainforest responding to its destruction? What is observed when Pentecostals do battle with nature spirits? What Christian groups are responding to the tensions when natural resources are limited or used badly? What role does climate change play in the movement of people? What does the establishment of migrant churches in cities mean for engagement with the natural environment?

The theme is vast and applicable to interdisciplinary working in planetary health and geo-sciences, as well as the familiar history, theology and social sciences. We welcome papers that focus on the observation and analysis of what is happening in World Christianity vis-à-vis the topic.

Please supply an abstract of 250 words to cswc-events@ed.ac.uk by 1st March 2023 that clearly states the enquiry, method and the literature in which you situate your paper. We anticipate a high level of interest in the conference and may not be able to accept all papers.

Past Meetings