The Covid-19 pandemic has brought us many disappointments and frustrations. It has also yielded some unexpected opportunities. When our College closed for almost six months in 2020, this presented an opportunity to my long-time colleague Klaus Fiedler and I to work together on the Malawi church history book that had been in our minds – now published as A Malawi Church History 1860-2020.
When the College again closed early in 2021, we knew what to do. It was time for another book! One thing we had noticed when we were working on our church history book is that much of the best writing on the history of Christianity in Malawi is no longer available. It appeared as chapters in books that are no longer in print or as articles in journals that are inaccessible in Malawi.
Our church history book contains lists of recommending reading. But we felt it was a recipe for frustration to recommend a text that cannot be accessed, at least not without great difficulty. We therefore set about collecting such texts with the idea that we could re-publish them as a Christianity in Malawi “reader.”
Happily, the 2021 closure was much shorter than the 2020 one. But it was long enough for us to get well underway with the new project. This one could move much faster since we were not writing the book ourselves. We just had to gather the articles, request permission to republish them, and write a short introduction for each one to set it in context.
Now the book is at the point of going to press. We hope it will serve well as a companion volume to our Malawi church history. But we are also confident that it will be well appreciated in its own right – Malawi has been fortunate to have had a series of excellent scholars engaged with its Christian history and some of their best work is assembled in the pages of the new book.