Mission and Children: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

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Children are ‘forgotten’ on mission and mission history. Much ink has been spent on finding out what mission is and on missionary biographies, but children rarely get attention in research. The ongoing debates on the Biblical foundation of mission usually do not ask critical questions about how certain Bible texts have been used to legitimate the separation of children from their parents under the motto of mission. Nor has been much published about the experiences of missionaries’ children who were sent to boarding schools abroad or sent back to their passport countries. Children, however, have been a continuous company to mission.
The occasion for organizing this symposium is the publication of Freek Bakker’s book on this topic: Het verdriet van de zending: De stem van de kinderen in Nederland, (The sorrow of mission: The voices of the children in the Netherlands), Zuidland: Stichting Zendingserfgoed, 2021. This book enriches the modest yet growing research in this field. E.g. John Chenoweth, Jenny Ostini, Bernard Dainton, eds. Sent: Reflections on Missions, Boarding Schools and Childhood, Auchenflower, Queensland, 2020).
The aim of the symposium is to provide a space for reflection and conversation concerning the position of children in the international context of mission and missionary activities with a focus on the practice in which missionary parents have been separated from their children for the “holy” goal of mission. The symposium asks questions such as: What were the reasons to come to a separation of children from their parents and which were the effects of this practice? What was the role of mission organizations with regard to this practice? To what extent do practices of separating parents from children for the sake of mission continue even today?
In the attachment you find a tentative program. The interdisciplinary perspective guaranteed by the speakers promises a meaningful encounter around the topic.
Period31 May 20221 Jun 2022
Event typeConference
LocationNetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational