Life was quite restricted in Malawi between March and September this year as the country sought to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Our College was closed, travel was discouraged, gathering in large groups was banned and we generally aimed to minimize our close contact with one another. Quite a shock to the system. Therapy was needed.
For my old friend Klaus Fiedler and myself, therapy took the form of writing a book together. We met every 48 hours, sitting socially distanced on a verandah with copious supplies of tea to keep us going. We gave each other homework that kept us busy until the next meeting.
Now the book is complete and about to go to press. It is titled, “A Malawi Church History 1860-2020.” So far as we know, it is the first attempt to comprehend the entirety of Malawi’s church history in a single volume. Our hope is that it will have a good life as a textbook to support the teaching of Malawi Church History in some twenty institutions in Malawi where this course is now taught. We hope that it will also make a contribution in the wider world of scholarship, introducing the richness of Malawi’s church history to a wider audience and adding one small component to the study of World Christianity.
We have both loved the experience of writing the book. The therapy seems to have worked. In many ways the “year of corona” has been a demoralising experience with so many cancellations and disappointments as well as awareness of so much suffering around the world and uncertainty about what the future may hold for ourselves. Certainly, it has reminded us of our finitude. A book, for sure, is a finite result but we are grateful for it and for the therapy its writing offered in troubled times.