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Nagel Institute's First Project
March 27, 2006

An Agreement Executed by Calvin College To Create a Partnership between the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity of Calvin College and the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture.

For accomplishing a project, "Primal Religions as the Substructure of Christianity."


Purpose of the Project: Convene a seminar of scholars from various study centers and programs worldwide to address the issues that arise from the interaction of the Christian faith with cultures shaped by ‘primal,’ also commonly called ‘traditional,’ religions. Assess the feasibility of mounting an international, multi-site investigation of these issues, and if this idea is deemed to have strong prospects, then lay plans for such a project. Edit and publish a volume of essays developed from the seminar's papers.

Project Description: This project would convene 15 scholars from a variety of study centers around the world to respond to prepared papers on the Christian history of peoples whose cultures have been shaped by primal religions and the issues currently arising in church life among these peoples. The meeting would reflect on how pervasive primal perspectives on reality (existence) affect the interactions with the Christian faith and would seek to understand how such reflections help illuminate the theological, pastoral and broader culture-engaging thought and practice in these churches. Furthermore, the meeting would explore how these interactions between "primal" and "Christian" may have implications and significance for contemporary Christian theological, pastoral, and broader culture-engaging thought and practice worldwide. The meeting would discuss the feasibility of mounting a more extensive project, engaging a number of research and programs centers around the world, and producing a body of fresh research and reflection. The meeting would take place at Calvin College over three weeks in the summer of 2007.

There shall be two main products stemming from this seminar project: (1) a plan for a larger international research and communications project, and (2) a collection of essays edited into a book manuscript and submitted for publication.

Project Leaders: The project leaders shall be Andrew F. Walls, professor emeritus; Kwame Bediako, executive director; and Gillian M. Bediako, documentation and publications officer, Akrofi-Christaller Institute.

Project Period: March 1, 2006 -- June 30, 2008

Project Plan: March --May 2006: Project leaders draw up list of desired participants and conduct invitation and early confirmation process. Report to Nagel Institute and Seminars Office at Calvin June 1, 2006 with list of participants and their topics.

June -- August 2006: Project leaders settle on a daily schedule of topics, presentations, readings for the seminar, and present Seminars Office with syllabus by September 1, 2006. Seminars Office prepares conference syllabus, notebook with readings, other materials, for distribution to participants by October 1, 2006.

January -- February 2007: Project leaders communicate with each participant and get one-page statements of interests/topic that will form basis for seminar papers. Send these to Nagel Institute and Seminars Office March 1 for dissemination to all participants.

April -- May 2007: Seminars and Nagel staff work on visas, travel tickets, housing arrangements, other seminar support arrangements.

May June 2007: Seminar participants finish seminar paper drafts; project leaders submit them to Nagel for dissemination by June 1, 2007.

July 9-27, 2007: Seminar in operation; participants arriving weekend before and leaving just after.

August 2007 -- November 2007: Project leaders polish plans for phase II of project and incorporate them into prospectus for seeking project funding. Prospectus due November 1, 2007. Nagel staff makes initial contacts with prospective donors. Project leaders make contact with prospective collaborators--individuals and study centers. Participants develop conference presentations.

January 2008 -- June 2008: Project leaders and Nagel staff present proposals to prospective donors for funding, to scholarly and ministry networks for information and to disseminate early findings. Seminar participants present early findings at conferences.

August 2007 -- June 2008: Seminar essays are prepared by seminar participants for publication; editorial work by project leaders continues with authors to finish preparation of book manuscript. Book manuscript submitted for publication June 30, 2008.

August 2008. Project leaders prepare a final report on program objectives; Nagel Institute staff prepares a final report on project spending. Reports are due September 1, 2008