Researcher’s Article Abstracts

IMAGINING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION FOR ACCRA AS A GLOBALISING
AFRICAN CITY

Increasing migration and its attendant repercussions have gradually created many unfavourable conditions in the city of Accra. The situation poses big challenges to both the local and national development agenda. Religious institutions, including the Church – which occupy an important place in the lives of Accra residents – have roles to play. This study proposes as one of the most effective approaches to the current situation, for theological institutions to overhaul and revise their educational strategies and goals. This is possible through a properly designed and regulated training scheme that gives adequate orientation and guidance to both faculty and students of theological institutions in Accra. Only through a conscious rethinking, reimagining and restructuring of existing training programmes and approaches can new attitudes and actions be expected, in relation to the social fractures in the city. The study adopts a qualitative approach with a multi-disciplinary and multi perspective thrust.

Repositioning Theological Institutions for Urban Ministry – A Case for the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST)

Current trends of urbanization in Africa necessitate serious reflection and action by African theological institutions. They are challenged to reposition themselves as catalysts for flourishing African cities. This article will explore a theological concept of “flourishing” and how Kampala KEST and others can contribute to flourishing African cities. For this to happen, institutions must make an honest assessment of their vision, mission and programs based on their engagement with the different stakeholders in their urban contexts. This article explores how KEST can reposition itself, appreciating its central urban location, but becoming deliberate about embracing an urban ethos, outlook and praxis also. The article proposes three areas of intervention, which include: a contextualized curriculum for urban ministry; becoming a research hub on urban issues; and becoming holistically urban in orientation.

Outline:

  1. Introduction: A Case for Urban Ministry
    • A description of Kampala city
    • A summary of the Urban Africa 2050 research findings
    • A survey of what the current theological institutions in Kampala are doing to respond to the urban realities
    • A theological portrait of a flourishing city
  2. An Urban Ministry Curriculum
    • Salient features of a contextualized urban ministry curriculum, derived from:
      • our reflections on the realities of Kampala city
      • KEST’s vision, mission, values, and location
  3. A Holistic Urban Orientation
    • How KEST could take to organize its programs, curriculum, and pedagogies to have an urban orientation
    • A Research Hub on Urban Issues
      1. Who are the stakeholders?
      2. What are the pertinent issues to engage?
  4. Repositioning for Urban Ministry
    • As a way of concluding, this section will make proposals on what other institutions could learn/do in order to have an urban orientation

Mending the broken city of Pietermaritzburg through a transformative urban theological programme: A challenge to Union Bible Institute

Rapid urbanization, globalization, and the advancement of information and technology come as a challenge for theological education in South Africa, generally, and, specifically, in an emerging city like Pietermaritzburg. This is a city with a multitude of urban fractures: the contesting space between informal traders and the taxi industry; rife political violence; gender- based violence; the spread of HIV and AIDS; and informal housing. I will make recommendations for curricular changes, through using the city as classroom, and collaborating with different community organisations, to help shape our theology for urban ministry. The pastoral praxis cycle (insertion, analysis, reflection, and planning for action) will be used in describing these fractures and evaluating the current theological offering. I will make recommendations for curricular changes, through using the city as classroom, and collaborating with different community organisations, to help shape our theology for urban ministry.

Outline:

  1. Introduction
  2. Insertion:
    a) The Union Bible Institute
    b) Profile of Pietermaritzburg / reading the city
    – Geographic location
    – The city’s intended purpose (who to accommodate)
    – Housing
    – Religious life
    – Politics
    – Socialization (ethics and values)
    – Economy (informal)
    – Safety and security
    – Dignity – values – ethics
  3. Analysis: The relevancy of the theological education in the city of Pietermaritzburg
    – Theological education and urban imperative
    – Contextual and comprehensive ministry in the city
    – Strategizing for missions and transformative development
  4. Theological reflection: Nehemiah’s model of building the broken walls
    – See – judge – act
    – Partnership and empowerment
    – Holistic ministry and development
  5. Planning for action:
    – Advocacy and lobbying
    – Community organizing and mobilizing
    – Vision for the city
    – Strategic planning
    – Identification of assets
    – Training for transformation
  6. Conclusion and recommendations