Supporting Theology Worldwide: Hani Hanna’s Journey with Langham Partnership

In May 2024, we were delighted to be joined on Langham Live by Dr Hani Hanna, Director of Langham Literature. Hani shared with us his journey from becoming a Langham Scholar to supporting authors and colleges the world over through Langham Literature. Read the special blog post and watch the video from the event.

Hani’s Background and Early Connections

Hani is based in Cairo and has lived most of his life in Egypt except for times when he lived in the West to study and work for a time.

Hani’s history with Langham Partnership goes back to 2004. He was a Langham Scholar (Ph.D. in the US) and spent some time in the UK. Since then, the relationship has developed multi-dimensionally. He served in the theology profession, most recently as seminary president of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC). This included a lot of collaboration with Langham Partnership, as they sponsored so many in the faculty.

Finally, he’s now working through the literature programme, in the International Director role he took up with Langham Partnership in July 2024.

Leadership in Langham Partnership’s Literature Programme

Hani now leads a big team, some in the UK, but also half of the team who are dispersed around the world. This includes academic profiles, commissioning work, and so on.

The Literature programme has three legs, publishing, publisher development, and distribution to libraries in Majority World theological colleges. We publish in English, French and some Spanish, and there is some translation into other languages, like one recently in Urdu for example.

The aim is to publish around 50 books a year. This amounts to a significant publishing operation in its own right.

Supporting Local Publishers and Theological Colleges

Publisher development has to do with supporting local publishers so they can do their job better in supporting writers and audiences in their locations – much needed work.

Library grants for theological colleges are offered to help them build acquisitions, enable exposure to more literature and to support study in their various programmes.

In terms of grant scale, Langham supports around 150 colleges with £150 grants (with some large discounts on books that we are able to offer). We produce catalogues they choose from, not just of our books, but many from other publishers. Langham then ships the books for free. It can be a logistically difficult operation because of some Majority World contexts, where it can be hard to bring deliveries from outside the country, due to import taxes, etc.

The catalogue was initially developed in partnership with Excellence in Giving in US. One important reflection is the way that we give Majority World colleges the ability to choose their own books, as they feel appropriate.

An example of important work available in the catalogue might be that emerging from the Middle East as a geographical region.  There’s a big need for our work in this location. Libraries are destitute and publisher development is a key piece of work there.

Addressing issues of Public Theology is a significant need also. Theology as traditionally considered is not enough; there is a need for work that focuses on life situations found in Majority World contexts. We have critical situations that need to be addressed by the Church with a particular cultural voice. E.g. Theological Politics.

There is conflict in various regions and Public Theology could be an approach that could help with prevalent issues like reconciliation, justice, social justice, and poverty. We need to show that there is not just one way to tackle them, and to which scholarly believers need to give serious thought and study to help others.

Addressing Contemporary Theological Challenges

There is a rise in the atheistic movement in the Middle East. This is surprising to him because of the region’s great religiosity in historic terms. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the Church. We need to provide support and resources in this area.

Some examples of interesting texts being published now by Langham include a book written by Hani in Arabic about atheism. This was published by a local publisher in Lebanon, supported by Langham funds, and is now to be translated into English and published by Langham Literature.

Another book just came out by two Ukrainian writers, Better than One, on the subject of loneliness; He commends it for the way it gives a biblical response from the context of war.

There are always some good and exciting projects emerging and a wonderful job!

Prayer Points

  1. Pray for the safe arrival of the library grant books that are being delivered around the world.
  2. Pray for the Literature Team in the UK and the continued commitment of the editors around the world who are managing over 200 active projects, with 50 titles due to be in the next year.
    • Pray for our authors, many of whom are writing in difficult environments of social, political, and economic disruption, and in some cases war.
    • Majority World Publishers do not get a great deal of direct feedback on their endeavors and it is difficult to be sure of the impacts. Few people understand the work of publishers so it can be quite lonely for them. Consequently, they can be prone to discouragement or doubts about the value of their work. Pray for precious direct encouragement and trust, to see the bigger picture and long-term impacts.
  3. Pray for LL’s commissioning editors and the publishers LL serves so they continue to be attentive to both the Holy Spirit’s guidance and the real needs of their context for a prophetic ministry with a transformative impact.
  4. Pray that the Lord would raise up writers and publishers with a calling for the written word in every tribe, tongue and nation.
  5. Give thanks for what the Lord has been doing through the authors and publishers LL has been serving.
    • Give thanks for some amazingly positive progress at Editora Quitanda, serving Portuguese Africa and Brazil.
    • Give thanks for the launch of the Urdu version of Southeast Asia Bible Commentary
  6. Pray for specific projects:
    • Pray for the final editing stages of the Africa Bible Commentary revision and the team involved. Some team members have been experiencing health challenges.
    • Pray for the publishers LL serves in Mongolia (Bayat Garam) for health recovery.
    • Pray for Tekalign Duguma (Ethiopia) who is in the process of establishing a publishing ministry which we believe has huge potential. May Tekalign be helped, equipped, and resources abundantly.
    • Pray for Mrs Mazza who has recently taken over the leadership of Thai Publisher Kanok Banassan. Pray she would not be overwhelmed, learn to be less cautious, and take a few ‘chances’ for the Kingdom.