Dr. Chuck Lippy, LeRoy A. Martin Distinguished Professorship of Religious Studies, has been named president-elect of the American Society of Church History (ASCH), founded in 1888. The purpose of this national professional organization is “to promote the scholarly study of Christianity and its relationship to the culture around it across time and across the globe.”
Membership includes academics from all over the world, as well as scholars with a keen interest in the historical interaction of Christianity and culture who are not presently in an academic appointment.
Lippy was named president-elect at the January meeting of ASCH in Washington, DC. He will become president of ASCH in January 2009.
As president-elect, Lippy is responsible for planning a three-day program at the annual meeting in January 2009, where 75-100 scholars will make presentations about their research and work. As both president and president-elect, Lippy will have a seat on the society’s governing council, presiding at two-three meetings annually when president. As president, he will give a plenary address at the annual meeting in January 2010, followed by a reception in his honor.
Lippy is currently serving in the second of a four-year term as the society’s delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies.
As president of ASCH, Lippy has several goals. “One major hope is to hold the spring 2009 meeting outside the US for the first time in the society’s history as a way to stress the increasing international character of the society’s membership,” Lippy said. Montreal is the destination city under consideration.
“Another goal is to keep pushing for greater recognition within the scholarly study of Christianity and culture of what is called ‘lived religion,’” Lippy said. Lippy has written academic articles and a book about how ordinary people live their spiritual lives. “[This means] not seeing the Christian tradition necessarily through the lenses of denominations, professional clergy leaders (whether pastors or popes), or pronouncements of bodies such as general assemblies or conventions–but what the ‘people in the pew’ actually believe, think, and do,” Lippy said.
A third goal is to strengthen the relationship between the ASCH and cognate groups such as the American Catholic Historical Association, of which Lippy is a member, and also strengthen ties with international groups.
Lippy is honored to be chosen president-elect. He plans to retire from the University during his tenure. “It is also an honor because both my theological school mentor, Dr. Robert Handy of Union Theological Seminary, and my graduate school mentor, Dr. John E. Wilson of Princeton University, both of whom are already retired, have previously served as president of the American Society of Church History.”
ASCH publishes the scholarly journal Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture which is issued four times annually. The society offers several monetary prizes recognizing outstanding books and articles published in the field, it provides limited research assistance, and encourages young scholars by offering membership in ASCH while the attend graduate school.