Diversity is the New Normal

Montage: St Augustone, Black LIves Matter protestors, black woman teaching, Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Anglican pentecostal church service in Nigeria, Ethiopian Orthodox priest, Lucy Ochieng of CMS-Africa; globe

We are really excited to announce a new offering in our current MA. This is a new route through the MA with a focus on African Christian diaspora, taught by African scholars and offered fully online.

Respected Scottish mission historian Andrew Walls suggests: “If you want to learn something about Christianity today, you must know something about Africa.” So here is your opportunity!

We have known for a long time that the centre of gravity for Christianity is in the Majority World, and especially in Africa. All our students study a module entitled Theologies in Global Perspective to gain a wider view on the world and on mission. I believe that this kind of study saves us from domesticity and helps us to decentre white male theology as we are exposed to learnings from other parts of the world. This new route through our MA will embed this even further as we listen and learn together in the same zoom/room. 

As bell hooks and Willie James Jennings say, it is about being in shared spaces and being community together. The course will provide an opportunity for those working in Africa diaspora churches to reflect on their own practice, culture, theology and mission and to learn from peers in a variety of contexts.

Feminist theologian Janet Soskice reminds us that God is love. “We learn love through the reciprocity of our human condition, through being in relation to others who are different from ourselves…” [The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender and Religious Language (Oxford:OUP, 2008), 51.] 

Difference is built into our DNA right from the creation story. At Pentecost we see an outpouring of the Spirit so that many cultures and languages are praising God in their mother tongues. The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, the Peter and Cornelius story, the shared meal table are all powerful stories of coming together in difference and diversity. And of course we have the beautiful vision in Revelation 7:9 of all types of people worshipping before the throne. 

Malawian missiologist Harvey Kwiyani, founder of Missio Africanus, who will be teaching on the course, reminds us that diversity is the new normal and is something to be celebrated and affirmed.

There will be modules, among others, on African religion, African Pentecostalism and African theology in addition to other current themes for mission such as race, colonialism and migration.

With the emergence of #BLM, the recent publication of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce report From Lament to Action, we hope that this new initiative will begin to fulfil our dream of theological education happening in diverse communities so that it is a context where students from many cultures can flourish. 

Our vision is to see a vibrant network of pioneers and diaspora leaders in mission engaged in transforming mission and growing communities of disciples in multiple cultures and contexts. 

The dream is also to diversify the teaching and student bodies so that we become an expression of God’s multicultural kingdom. Finally, we all expect and hope to be changed by this.

Do get in touch to find out more.

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ANVIL journal of theology and mission

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