World Christianity in Britain Conference

 

On Saturday 13th October at Sheffield Community Church, were gathered about 50 people from across Britain. These included pastors, scholars, practitioners, missionaries from various cultural and ethnic background. Speakers on the day explored different aspects of World Christianity such as How to reach South Asians in Britain, Diaspora Missiology, African Christianity in the Diaspora, Western Perspective on African Christianity and Youth ministry within second generation African migrants. Below are audio recordings of the conference.

Usha Reifsnider, one of CMMW Director on South Asian Mission in Britain

Group Discussion on South Asian Mission

Dr Samuel Cueva, one of CMMW Directors on Diaspora Missiology

Dr Anderson Moyo, Senior Pastor Sheffield Community Church on Exploring African Christianity in the Diaspora

Dr Emma Wild-Wood, Senior lecturer, Edinburgh University on Western Perspective on African Christianity

Sarah Alonge, Youth leader and motivational speaker on Youth Ministry within Second Generation African Migrants

Youth Ministry in Multi-ethnic Britain Panel Discussion

Reflections on the day by Dr Ben Fulford, Chester University and Society for the Study of Theology (SST)

Reflecting on a day’s conference (organised by the Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World) thinking about mission from the perspectives of majority world Christians in the UK in Sheffield today: lots to chew on. These are perspectives, concerns, theologies which are fairly marginal to U.K. academic theology, still. African and Asian British theologians thinking from and about contexts of ministry mostly amidst diaspora communities in Britain. Politically and socially engaged, I think, but not on a liberationist model. Evangelicals and Pentecostals.

Really interesting to hear mission reconceptualised in the context of migration and diaspora. De-coupled from western missionary societies and their complex relationship with western colonialism. Samuel Cueva did that most extensively. Migration as spontaneous, unconventional mission, people carrying their faith with them, and inseparable from the politics of migration and anti-migration. 
Brexit was mentioned more than once.

Brexit is amongst other things a reminder that the complex effects of the history of empire, whiteness are still with us. Usha Reifsnider’s talk shed light on the experience of South Asians coming to Britain in the 60s and 70s, being exploited, racially abused, by their church-going neighbours; but also how racial and class prejudices and stereotypes shape expectations about who does theology, evangelism strategies toward diaspora communities, and expectations of conversion as cultural extraction and assimilation.

Also really interesting were insights into the complexities of diaspora church communities – cross-cultural and intergenerational differences (and changing migration policies) complexifying church life, and as Anderson Moyo argued, troubling hitherto successful (in the sense of rapid numerical growth) church planting models.

Another fascinating sample of that complexity in relation to successive waves of inward migration was given by a Emma Wild-Wood, in a talk covering the varieties of African Christianity in Africa and the UK, and of western responses to it. She recounted a Roman Catholic priest struggling to hold together congregations with Irish, Shona & Polish groups, each minoritised in different ways in their contexts, each finding succour in RC faith, but in diverse ways.

Lots to think about, for doing theology, for theology in academia.”

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