Last weekend I attended the ‘Methodist for World Mission’ Conference at Swanwick, Derbyshire along with many others who have a heart for God’s Worldwide Mission.
We praised God in both the English and African tongue accompanied by lively music and dance. I am always incredibly moved at these events when the Lord’s Prayer is spoken in several different languages simultaneously, demonstrating diversity yet unity within the Christian faith.
We explored African theology and associated social and economic issues. The opening address given by the keynote speaker, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, challenged the way in which many leaders in his own Continent claim an allegiance to Christianity yet fail to live out that faith in their decision making and life-style – ‘Without Christ within our faith is but a shallow claim!’
Further talks, Bible study and workshops gave plenty of food for thought and issues to challenge us.
The huge African Continent is made up of 54 countries each with their own history, culture, language, and tradition – see the photo above with ‘little Britain’ beneath. These include African Indigenous Religions. Africans generally are a deeply religious people and monotheistic – belief in one ‘Supreme Being’ creator and lord of all. The slave trade and colonialism along with the work of early missionaries declared these to be heathen traditions yet many of the African Indigenous Religions sit side by side with Christianity – hints of the Ethiopian Eunuch who met Philip the Evangelist on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza maybe? Acts 8 26-40
The Saturday evening was a celebration of song and dance – I felt very ‘under-dressed’ compared to the wonderful colourful array of African materials.
A thoroughly wonderful weekend!