YDS missions gathering draws participants from around the globe
By Martha Smalley
Special Collections Librarian and Curator of the Day Missions Collection
From June 30 – July 2, Yale Divinity School hosted a meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity. More than 85 professors, graduate students, archivists, and independent scholars from throughout the world met to present and discuss papers on the theme of “Missions and Education.” Among the nations represented, in addition to the U.S., were Ghana, Kenya, India, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, the U.K., and Canada.
Ryan Dunch, associate professor at the University of Alberta and a renowned scholar in the field of China missions history, presented the keynote address, the Divinity Library’s Day Associates Lecture, on July 1 on the topic “Education in the Protestant missionary gospel in late Qing China.”
The Yale-Edinburgh Group was formed in 1992 under the leadership of Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of World Christianity at Yale, and Andrew Walls of the University of Edinburgh. The Group’s goal is to facilitate discussion and exchange of information about historical aspects of the missionary movement and the development of world Christianity. This was the 21st meeting of the Group, which alternates meetings between Yale and the University of Edinburgh.
The Yale Divinity School Library coordinated the meeting and welcomed numerous individuals who arrived early to spend time at the library and take advantage of its research resources, including those contained in the celebrated Day Missions Library.
The Day Associates, the Divinity Library’s “Friends of the Library” group, is named after George Edward Day, a nineteenth century professor of Hebrew language and literature at Yale. In 1892, Day donated his collection of missions-related materials to the Divinity School and became the catalyst for the formation of an "Historical Library of Foreign Missions" at Yale. In 1911, a building was constructed to house the Day missions collection, funded by generous bequests from Day and his wife, Olivia Hotchkiss Day.
When the Divinity School moved to Prospect Street in 1932, the Day Library was merged with the Trowbridge Reference Library and the Sneath Library of Religious Education to form the core of the present Divinity School Library. The gracious decor of the present Day Missions Reading Room provides a memory of the legacy of George Edward and Olivia Hotchkiss Day.