pitts-african-christianity-story.jpgA new exhibition at Pitts Theology Library opened on March 23, providing researchers, students, and the public glimpses into a variety of sources from Pitts that may be used in analyzing and telling the histories and theologies of Christian communities across Africa. “Expressions and Encounters: Experiencing the Histories and Theologies of African Christianity in the Collections of Pitts Theology Library” runs through July 20, and is open during library hours. Three Friday tours will be offered on April 6, April 20, and May 4 at 1:00 p.m. Learn more and register for a tour.

An opening reception for the exhibition will take place on Thursday, April 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the third floor lecture hall of Pitts Theology Library. Jehu Hanciles, D.W. and Ruth Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity, Arun Jones, Dan and Lillian Hankey Associate Professor of World Evangelism, and exhibition curator Jennifer Aycock will all present. Register to attend by April 2.

The exhibition displays periodicals, monographs, sacred texts, missionary correspondence, and church archives selected from the library’s African Christianity Collection. It also intentionally reflects the fragmented nature of the collection developed under the supervision of the late Channing R. Jeschke, Margaret A. Pitts Professor Emeritus of Theological Bibliography, who served as director of the library from 1971 to 1994. This disjointedness indicates the incompleteness of existing textual sources in writing histories of African Christianity.

Curator Jennifer Aycock is a Candler Master of Theology alumna and a current Graduate Division of Religion student concentrating in historical studies of theology and religion. “I hope that this exhibition will encourage visitors to explore histories and theologies not frequently highlighted, or present, in North American theological libraries,” she says. “I also hope it provokes new understandings about the deep and diverse histories of Christian communities across the African continent, as well as the transnational networks that continue to inform Christian practice and theology today.” Aycock says she aims to honor Jeschke’s vision by alerting scholars to the resources in local and national African as well as colonial languages available for use across the library.

“You cannot script the histories of African Christianity without attending to their simultaneous religious, social, and political impulses and implications,” Aycock says. “The exhibition invites visitors to reflect on these diverse contexts and histories that inform the expressions of African Christianity.”

Register for the tour on Friday, April 6.

Register for the tour on Friday, April 20.

Register for the tour on Friday, May 4.