Letter from the Editors (Fall 2023)
Contemporary Church History Quarterly
Volume 29, Number 3/4 (Fall 2023)
Letter from the Editors (Fall 2023)
By Lauren Faulkner Rossi, Simon Fraser University
A very happy new year’s greeting to all readers of Contemporary Church History Quarterly! I am excited to write to you in my new capacity as managing editor of CCHQ. I have been involved as an active reader and contributor to CCHQ since my graduate student years at Brown University, and have served as a member of the editorial board for the past ten years. Since 2016 I have taught history at Simon Fraser University, where I focus on modern European history, the Second World War, and the Holocaust. While my current research focuses on Holocaust child survivors and the impact of trauma on survival and memory, I continue to remain engaged with and interested in church-state relations in Germany during the first half of the twentieth century and intend to return in the near future to the inspiring story of Franz Stock. I am conscious of the role I am taking on with CCHQ, as successor most immediately to Kyle Jantzen and to the Quarterly’s first and founding managing editor, John Conway.
I am thrilled to announce a team of editors who will assist me with the collation and release of CCHQ issues, each of whom provides their own separate introduction as part of this issue. Kyle Jantzen will continue as associate technical editor. Long-time editorial board members Rebecca Charter-Chand and Mark Ruff join me as acting CCHQ associate editors.
We apologize for releasing the final issue of 2023 a month late, but we are pleased to bring you a variety of pieces. Martin R. Menke has provided an updated translation of a conference report first published by the CCHQ last summer. Michael Heymel (independent scholar) shared a report detailing the October 2022 conference in Germany dedicated to the life and legacy of Otto Dibelius. Menke has also reviewed Doris Bergen’s highly anticipated book, Between God and Hitler: Military Chaplains in Nazi Germany. Ion Popa (University of Manchester/Gerda Henkel Stiftung) has written a report about the October 2023 conference hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that explores the impact of the newly-opened pontifical archives on Pope Pius XII and its impact on Jewish-Christian relations. Kyle Jantzen includes an article note about Gordon Keith’s review of Canadian Presbyterians and pacifism in the interwar period. Finally, Recent MA graduate Madison Barben (Washington State University) has provided a short overview of her Master’s thesis about the German Methodist Episcopal Church, as its members were caught between the Nazi regime and the American Methodist Church in the 1930s.
We are excited to step into 2024 with a dedicated and dynamic team of editors and contributors, and anticipate a sequence of full quarterly issues through the year and into next year. We fervently hope you find the December 2023 issue a welcome and stimulating conclusion to a busy year.
On behalf of my associate editors and the editorial board,
Lauren Faulkner Rossi, Simon Fraser University
I am the director of the Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I have been a longtime reader of CCHQ; even before I joined the editorial team in 2019, I contributed occasional pieces while I was a PhD student in history at the University of Toronto. I wrote a dissertation on the Salvation Army in modern Germany, analyzing how this British Protestant social welfare organization navigated its international relationships and national loyalties in Germany. I came to this research through a broader interest in Germany’s Free Churches and other Anglo-American religious groups in the 1930s and 40s. When I was beginning my PhD studies, scholarship on the Protestant and Catholic German churches under Nazism was well developed and sophisticated — much of it produced by current and former CCHQ editors. It’s been exciting to see this field develop further and also inspire new approaches to studying Christianity in Germany and beyond, such as transnational approaches to religious communities, ecumenical and comparative methodologies, the study of lay people and women religious in church hierarchies, Christian-Jewish interactions in European countries beyond Germany, and a nuanced approach to analyzing different types of complicity and their implications. In my role at the USHMM, I sit at the crossroads of Holocaust studies, religious studies, and the history of Christianity. I am very pleased to take on a greater role on the CCHQ editorial team and contribute to providing timely book reviews, conference reports, and notes on new research, and opportunities for scholars.
It is my pleasure to continue to serve in a leadership role in the Contemporary Church History Quarterly. I am a Professor of History at Saint Louis University, where I am currently serving as Interim Chair for the department. My connection to the journal goes back to my years in graduate school at Brown University in the 1990s. Because of my interest in postwar German Catholicism and the erosion of what has often been called the Catholic milieu, I sought out John Conway, who was still teaching at the University of British Columbia. Our scholarly contacts developed into a close friendship that lasted until his death in 2017. For my book, The Battle for the Catholic Past in Germany, 1945-1980 (Cambridge University Press, 2017), I interviewed John extensively, since he crossed paths in Germany with other leading scholars like Klaus Scholder and Konrad Repgen examining the conduct of the German churches during the years of National Socialism.
In 2013, I helped organize a conference in his honor at UBC and Regent College, a conference which also brought together many of the board members of the journal. I continue to make 20th century religious history in both Germany and increasingly Europe writ large the focus of my scholarship. I am currently working on multiple research projects, including an edited volume looking at the rise, fall, and transformation of Christian Democratic parties across western and southern Europe.