Submission Guidelines

Make sure to learn about the project and consult our writer’s manual before you submit:
1. Introductory Resources 2. The Instructional Manual for Researchers and Writers (PDF)
Below see our guidelines for: A) Biographies (DACB); B) Christian Histories (DACB); C) Submissions to the Journal of African Christian Biography (JACB): Articles, Interviews, and Book Reviews

In the urgent task of documenting African Christian history, the DACB is committed to collecting and preserving:
1) The biographies of African men and women, both lay people and clergy, who have played a significant role in the birth and growth of Christianity over the entire continent, from the time of Jesus to the present. Follow the guidelines for submitting biographies intended for the DACB in section A below. Guidelines for formatting and content are found in our Instructional Manual for Researchers and Writers.
2) The histories of religious movements, churches, and Christian communities. Guidelines for submitting Christian histories are in section B below. 3) The DACB disseminates this biographical data for use in educational and church settings using the Journal of African Christian Biography. Guidelines for submitting to the JACB are in section C below.

Email all submissions (see section D below) to Dr. Michèle Sigg, Executive Director, [email protected]

A. Biographies (DACB)

Choice of Biographical Subjects

As you choose biographical subjects for your research, please take into account the following guidelines:

1. Subjects whose stories already appear in the DACB will normally not be considered, unless the proposed article gives significant new material and insight. Therefore it is important to consult the DACB either online or at a DACB participating institution, to ascertain whether or not the DACB already has stories on your proposed subjects.
2. Your subjects need not be confined to professional clerics, missionaries, or theologians, but might include laypersons from various walks of life whose stories are essential to an understanding of the church in Africa.
3. General suggested length: no longer than 3,000 words and no shorter than 500 words.
4. As the intent and purpose of the DACB is to record the history of African Christianity, we ask that you focus on writing the stories of deceased subjects.
5. It is the policy of DACB NOT to publish the stories of living subjects. In very few cases, exceptions have been made if the subjects are (a) of a very venerable age (over 70) and (b) they have retired from all active ministry (in other words, their story is complete). Stories of living subjects will be kept on file in the DACB office for future use.

Guidelines for Writing a Biography

In preparing a biographical study for inclusion in the Dictionary, please insure that your article includes information on as many of the following categories as possible. The author should integrate this information into an article between 200 and 3000 words long.

1. Given name(s) of Person. As necessary, provide explanations of these names.

  • Baptismal names
  • Kinship names
  • Nicknames

2. Family names. If there is more than one spouse, list the children under the appropriate mother or father.

  • Ethno-linguistic group
  • Kinship group
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Wife/Wives
  • Husband/Husbands
  • Children
  • Grandchildren

3. Life Story

  • Date or approximate date of birth
  • Place of birth: village, city, province, nation
  • Unusual circumstances associated with birth
  • Formative experiences, such as illnesses, personal misfortunes, tragedies, visions, etc.
  • Education, degrees (including dates)
  • Conversion (including date, if applicable)
  • Calling and/or ordination to ministry (including date)
  • Date or approximate date, place, and circumstances of death

4. Nationality / citizenship

5. Languages, including first, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.

6. Church affiliation

  • Roman Catholic
  • Orthodox; Coptic
  • Protestant (Conciliar, Evangelical, Anabaptist)
  • Independent (African initiated, Spiritual, Pentecostal / charismatic)

7. Names, locations, and descriptions of churches begun or served by the Subject

8. Ministry details: Where? How long? What happened? Short term and long term impact? (Please provide detailed information wherever possible, including anecdotes, stories, and hearsay)

9. Continuing influence and significance of the Subject

10. Publications, reports, writings, letters, musical compositions, artistic contributions by the Subject

11. Sources of information about the Subject

  • Unpublished
  1. Eyewitness accounts (give names and addresses of storytellers who are or were eyewitnesses; include details of their relationship to the Subject)
  2. Oral and anecdotal (give names and addresses of storytellers wherever possible, and include details of their relationship to the Subject)
  • Published (include full bibliographic data wherever possible: book title, author, publisher, year of publication; title of chapter within a book, author of the chapter, title of the book, name of the editor of the book, full publication data; title of article in periodical, author of article, periodical title, date of periodical, page numbers of article, place of publication.)

12. Other pertinent information

B. Christian Histories (DACB)

Guidelines for Writing the History of a Religious Movement, Church, or Christian Community

In preparing a history of a religious movement, local church or Christian community, please include as much information as possible in the following categories.

1. Origins, founders, and key personalities

  • Original founder(s): Life story and call (see Guidelines for Writing a Biography, above)
  • Key personalities and their roles in the origins of the movement/church
  • Significant events that led to the founding of the movement/ church
  • Key dates, milestones
  • Writings, sermons, publications

2. Beliefs and practices

  • Vision and philosophy of the founder
  • Central teaching: Main points
  • Sacred places
  • Role and place of the Bible; of ancient church practices; of traditional religion
  • Use of healing and miracles
  • Practices: Description, origins, and evolution over time

3. Organizational Structure

  • Who are the leaders? Describe their roles or functions (apostle, deacon, elder, etc.).
  • Is there a hierarchy? How are leaders and successors chosen?
  • How is the church / movement organized? By committees or otherwise?
  • What is the place given to women? To youth?
  • Church polity: Is it episcopal, connexional, congregational, presbyterian?
  • How have the organization and structure of the church evolved over time?

4. Worship and liturgy

  • Describe the worship service. How many services are there during the week? Explain the different kinds of worship services.
  • Languages used in worship.
  • Liturgical calendar: What important events are celebrated throughout the week, month, year?
  • Creation of music and religious objects, art
  • Vestments and religious clothing
  • How have the worship and liturgy evolved over time?

5. Impact of the movement / church locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally

  • Legacy: How has the church /movement impacted society?
  • Describe the influence and growth of the church on the local, regional, national, and international level.
  • Is the church is related to larger ecclesiastical blocks, such as the WCC, WEA, AACC, OAIC? If so, in what capacity?

6. Sources of information

  • Unpublished
  • Eyewitness accounts (give names and addresses of storytellers who are or were eyewitnesses; include details of their relationship to the church/ movement)
  • Oral and anecdotal (give names and addresses of storytellers wherever possible, and include details of their relationship to the church / movement)
  • Published (include full bibliographic data wherever possible: book title, author, publisher, year of publication; title of chapter within a book, author of the chapter, title of the book, name of the editor of the book, full publication data; title of article in periodical, author of article, periodical title, date of periodical, page numbers of article, place of publication.)

7. Other pertinent information

C. Submissions to the Journal of African Christian Biography (JACB)

The Journal of African Christian Biography (JACB) publishes research on biographies of African Christians. The primary focus is on the role of local agents in the spread of Christianity in Africa. The JACB is an open access publication committed to facilitating global conversations among scholars across cultures, nations, Christian traditions, and academic specializations, with particular emphasis on Africa. We invite contributions from individuals affiliated with religious and educational institutions in Africa and elsewhere.

CONTENT includes:

  • Original biographies and African Christian histories
  • Biographies highlighted from the DACB website
  • Obituaries and tributes about recently deceased figures
  • Excerpts of recently published scholarship
  • Interviews with select African church leaders and scholars (still living)
  • Resources for teaching with biography
  • Reviews of scholarship on African Christian biography and history

Guidelines for Article Contributors

The JACB is an academic journal devoted to the preservation, publication and dissemination of original scholarly articles relating to African Christian biographical subjects. The journal is not hagiographical, and subjects are treated with candor and honesty while at the same time acknowledging and appreciating the subject’s contribution(s) to Christianity in Africa at local, regional, denominational, national, or continental levels. Articles on local, regional, or national church histories are also welcome, as are critical reviews of publications related to African Christian biography.

Biographies that are not prepared with academic objectivity, rigor, and care will not be published, except possibly as examples of hagiography. In addition to the quality of the text itself, each article should include appropriately supportive endnotes, including documentation of time and location of interviews. Brief supportive bibliographies, when available, should be included.

Preparing and submitting article manuscripts

Format. Manuscripts (including endnotes) should be single-spaced, using a 12-point common font such as Times New Roman, with one-inch margins. Manuscripts should ideally be submitted as MS Word documents, and sent to the editor as email attachments. Articles should be from 3,000 to 5,000 words in length, including notes.

Author identification. Please include with your article a brief biographical note indicating your present position (with full name and location of your academic institution).

E-mail address. Some authors desire to include their e-mail address with their article. Please indicate whether or not you wish to have your email address included with your author identification.

Author photo. Please provide a recent digital head and shoulders photograph of yourself to be published with your article.

Photographs. The JACB welcomes photographs with articles. Please send these to us as JPEG digital files.

Address correspondence to: Dr. Michèle Sigg, Editor Journal of African Christian Biography [email protected]

Suggested Interview Guidelines and Questions for the Journal of African Christian Biography

The JACB seeks to engage with contemporary African Christian theologians, Christian leaders, and scholars through the use of interviews. The following guidelines are meant to help structure the process.

A. Preparation

  1. Who is the person you want to interview?
  2. What is your relationship to him or her? The questions you ask will emerge from what you already know.
  3. Why do you what to interview this person? i. What do you already know about this person? ii. What is it about this person that makes him or her a notable subject for the JACB?

B. Interview questions and the Interview itself. The interview can be conducted face to face or by email correspondence. Usually a combination of both methods is ideal. Questions should be open-ended, and should be tailored to fit the person who is being interviewed.

  1. Can you share something of your family background, childhood, education?
  2. Where did you grow up, and what were the circumstances of your upbringing?
  3. Were there individuals (parents, siblings, spouse, relatives, friends, teachers, mentors, role models) who particularly influenced you? What was it about them that made an impact on you?
  4. Were there events, circumstances or books that were somehow pivotal in your life?
  5. What were some of the greatest challenges/obstacles that you encountered in becoming who you are?
  6. What do you feel were your most significant accomplishments?
  7. Do you have any regrets?
  8. What are your concerns for Africa (or for your church, your country) as you contemplate the future?
  9. What are your dreams and hopes for the Church in Africa? If you were to return to this continent 100 years from now, what would you hope to find? What would you fear you might find?
  10. Do you have words of advice for readers of the JACB?

C. Processing the interview

  1. Whether the interview has been conducted by email or face to face, read through the responses carefully, and flag points that need to be clarified or expanded upon.
  2. When you return the text to the interviewee for approving, invite the person to address the points that you have flagged for elaboration or clarification.

D. Postscript to the interview: Please send a mini-bio of yourself, the time frame within which the interview was conducted, and—if the interviewee is a published author—a list of key publications.

E. Publishing the interview. Once the interviewee has approved of the interview, submit it to the DACB/JACB editorial offices in Boston. The interview will appear in the JACB which will be published on the DACB website.

F. The DACB will provide the interviewee with multiple (10) copies of the JACB issue in which the interview appears, accompanied by a letter of thanks that will be copied to you the interviewer.

Guidelines for Book Reviewers

In reviewing books for the Journal of African Christian Biography, please adhere to the following guidelines.

Objectivity. We ask that a note of respectful objectivity be maintained in all reviews, no matter how critical. If personal vested interests, opinions, or animus make such a review unlikely or impossible, please do not attempt to review the book. Harsh, one-sided reviews are generally not credible and will not be published in the JACB.

Length. Unless you have been invited to submit a full critical review essay, your review should run between a minimum of 600 words to a maximum of 1200 words (some flexibility here). Please contact the editor with questions regarding this policy.

Format. Book review manuscripts should be single-spaced, using a 12-point font such as Times New Roman, with one-inch margins. Reviews should include some word about the author(s) or editor(s) of the book. Any quotation in the review should be followed by the page reference (or inclusive page numbers) in parentheses.

Headings. The following style should be used for headings:

African Christian Biography: Stories, Lives, and Challenges.

Edited by Dana L. Robert. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications, 2018. Paperback. Pp. xx, 364. No price given.

Reviewer’s identification. The name of the book reviewer should come at the end of the review. Please include a brief (1 or 2 sentences) biographical note indicating your present position (with full name and location of academic institution).

Please proofread your review carefully—especially proper names, technical terms, foreign phrases, dates, and numbers. Try to ensure accuracy in every detail. Send your book review as MS Word attachment to [email protected].

Please submit the review within 60 days if possible. Otherwise, please inform the editor of your estimated date.

D. Personal Information and Submission process

For proper credit to be given to you as a contributor, please include:

  • Your name and address
  • Name and address of the church with which you are affiliated
  • Name and address of affiliated educational institution of mission agency
  • Name of individual(s) chiefly responsible for researching the story of each Subject
  • Name and position of the person supervising the research.

Please submit material intended for the Dictionary to the address below. 

Dictionary of African Christian Biography
Center for Global Christianity and Mission (CGCM)
745 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Massachussetts 02215, USA

See the DACB page on the CGCM Website: DACB at CGCM
Email all submissions to: [email protected]