New ANVIL journal examines the gift of African Diaspora churches in the UK

Harvey Kwiyani and Colin Smith introduce the new issue of ANVIL, available now to read online or download on the CMS website.

Christians in Britain prayed for many years for revival, and when it came they did not recognise it because it was black.

Walter Hollenweger

This latest edition of ANVIL explores the contribution of African diaspora churches to the realities of church and mission in Britain. It is particularly timely for CMS, following on, as it does, from the highly successful launch of an MA programme in African Christianity. It also comes on the heels of Black History Month. Those combined themes of interrogating history and learning from the distinct experience, insights, wisdom and gifts of African Christianity are evident in the articles that follow.

One wonders how Black History Month was marked in theological colleges, programmes and churches up and down the country. Was there a Black Church History Month with a serious exploration and appreciation of gifts of African theologians to the world church, from Clement and Origen to the present day? Where do the pioneers of Black and African Pentecostal churches in Britain figure in considerations of the historical development of contemporary church life in Britain? Is it just possible that there were Christians across Europe and North America who embraced or voiced support for a Black History Month while simultaneously failing to recognise and appreciate the fundamental importance of Black and brown theologians, religious leaders, prophets and martyrs in the history and development of Christianity right up to the present day?

Since the early part of the last century, African Christianity has been profoundly influencing and shaping the landscape of church and mission in Britain.

Articles and videos this time explore that reality:

  • Israel Olofinjana highlights a diversity in theologies, ecclesiologies, mission and cultures that is often overlooked
  • Joseph Ola explores the way a younger generation of African Christians in Britain face the challenges of dual identity
  • Sheila Akomiah-Conteh argues that African Christianity is a revitalising force in British Christianity, bringing new life to dead spaces
  • Harvey Kwiyani and Paul Ayokunle examine how the pandemic was understood and confronted as both a spiritual and medical battleground
  • VIDEO: Dupe Adefala tells a largely untold story of the distinctive and pioneering contribution of African women to mission in London
  • VIDEO: Gospel artist and praise and worship minister Ahmed Conteh reflects on the spirituality and vibrancy of worship and music
  • “Isn’t Christianity the white man’s religion?” Rosie Hopley is on a quest to unearth a broader, wider and more global narrative about Christian faith in Britain

We hope this issue will help further Rosie’s quest and we hope you enjoy reading!

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