Dr Harvey Kwiyani, a theologian and missiologist from Malawi, East Africa, is ready to steer a freshly launched Grasp’s diploma programme at Church Mission Society (CMS) that can concentrate on the “new motion of post-colonial missionaries” fashioned by African Christians within the UK.
“I grew up in Africa, so I do know what an empowered African church can do,” says Dr Kwiyani, programme lead for the brand new MA in Theology, Mission and Ministry with a concentrate on the African Christian Diaspora.
CMS director of mission schooling, Jonny Baker, hopes it is just the start as plans are already afoot for related programmes of examine taking a look at different areas.
“We’re actually enthusiastic about this new programme of examine and the combo of scholars it’ll carry. We hope and anticipate that it’ll change us, in addition to equip a wider vary of scholars for pioneering mission,” he mentioned.
“We’re dreaming that within the coming years we can introduce related pathways with an Asian and a Latin American focus, to create the broadest doable inter-cultural dialog about mission right this moment.”
Dr Kwiyani, 45, involves the position with a wealthy background in African Christianity and missiology.
He studied for his doctorate in African Christianity at Liverpool Hope College and in addition taught African theology there.
Just lately he was appointed as chief govt of World Connections, a UK-based community for world mission, and previous to that, in 2014, he based Missio Africanus to useful resource African and different minority ethnic Christians for efficient outreach within the UK.
Christian At present spoke to Dr Kwiyani concerning the new Grasp’s programme and the contribution of African Christians.
CT: How in observe are African Christians proving to be “post-colonial missionaries” within the largely secular UK?
HK: First, by means of their prayers. African Christians, usually talking, imagine in a robust spirit world that responds to prayer and, thus, prayer is commonly understood as a lifeline. I’ve not seen an African congregation right here within the UK that doesn’t have a prayer vigil not less than as soon as a month.
Second, lots of them are actively concerned in preaching and distributing evangelistic supplies in British cities. Whereas this might not be the best methodology of evangelising in Britain, their Christian presence on the streets of our cities makes the gospel accessible to some who wouldn’t entry it in any other case.
Third, simply by their presence in Britain. We all know that African Christians are propping up the Christian presence in London the place they account for greater than half of church attendance on any Sunday, as an illustration.
Their presence of their workplaces or of their faculties is critical particularly once we realise that, as a rule, they are going to be one of many few, if not the one, Christians in these circles.
CT: The older Christian denominations in Britain, notably the Anglicans and the Methodists, are in spiralling decline. What are the explanations for that in your view?
HK: No matter motive we can provide for this decline, it has to account for a mixture of a number of advanced components just like the denominations’ incapability or unwillingness to interact the altering tradition round them in a related and prophetic method; the de-spiritualisation of Christianity, which, after all, is a results of Europe’s post-Enlightenment bias in the direction of science and secularism; the middle-class captivity of Western Christianity; and their failure to keep up an evangelistic presence of their communities.
CT: What is supposed by the “African Christian Diaspora” within the UK?
HK: Once we speak concerning the African Christian Diaspora, we imply the rising numbers of African Christians residing outdoors the African continent. Within the case of our new programme at Church Mission Society, we take into account African Christians residing within the UK, but additionally in Europe and different components of the world.
Right here within the UK, African Christians have grow to be a really seen a part of the Christian group. In some cities, they type probably the most seen expression of Christianity. Throughout the nation, African-majority church buildings are the quickest rising a part of the Church. In London, they’re rising quick sufficient to imply that, general, Christianity is on the rise within the metropolis.
One in each two individuals who attend church in London are of African heritage, regardless that they type solely 14 per cent of London’s inhabitants.
CT: What sort of college students is the brand new Grasp’s course aiming to draw?
HK: The course is designed to serve college students of all types with a concentrate on two teams. The primary group contains African church leaders – pastors, elders, worship leaders – serving God right here within the UK and in different components of the world. A lot of them want to grasp the context during which they’re serving. Many extra want theological coaching to be simpler of their service. This programme shall be useful to those college students.
The second group contains non-African leaders who, by divine windfall, discover themselves serving or working with African Christians of their church buildings. These could possibly be vicars, deans, wardens, and so forth, who discover African Christians rising of their congregations. Or it could possibly be vicars who lease out the church halls to African congregations for his or her companies and are intrigued to be taught one thing about them.
However there’s additionally the group of British/European Christians who serve in Africa, in mission businesses, diplomatic roles, and in enterprise who realise that they should be taught African Christianity to grasp Africa.
CT: What can college students study cross-cultural mission in your new course?
HK: Along with three modules that shall be shared with the Pioneer college students at Church Mission Society – Management, Mission, and Analysis – college students on the African Christian Diaspora may have three African-focused modules.
The primary one is African Church Historical past. We cowl this module as a result of our college students discover it useful to grasp that Christianity has been current in Africa repeatedly proper from the start, in North Africa – Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria – and in Ethiopia.
A lot of them are inspired after they be taught of African church fathers – Tertullian, Athanasius, Augustine – and are in a position to be taught of their theological works to tell their very own id right this moment.
The second module is on African Pentecostalism. This module seeks to assist African Christians, most of whom are Pentecostals, perceive their very own religion in methods that can assist them converse with humble confidence to their neighbours. It additionally helps our non-African college students to grasp their African neighbours higher. After all, if any of them have any type of reference to African Christians of their communities, it is extremely possible that they are going to be Pentecostals.
The third African-focused module explores African Faith or, as some would name it, African Conventional Faith. This module helps each our African and non-African college students perceive the African life.
It’s quite superficial to attempt to perceive Africans with out understanding their religiosity as a result of for many Africans, life and faith are inseparably intertwined. Definitely, one can not perceive African Pentecostalism with out wrestling with the broader African spiritual heritage.