On Thursday March 27th, CGCM’s Director Dr. Dana Robert moderated a panel on ‘Christianity and Spirituality in the African Diaspora,’ presented by the Association of Black Seminarians. Dr. Robert opened her remarks by highlighting some of the history of Boston University’s School of Theology and Africa, a relationship that richly intersects civil rights and human rights, many through mission connections of African Americans in Africa. The School of Theology also has a history of faculty teaching and researching Africa, as well as people with ongoing ministries in the continent.
The panelists were diverse and included pastor and doctoral student Rev. Derek Muwina, ethicist Dr. Peter Paris, and African historian Dr. John Thornton. Rev. Muwina addressed some of the challenges that Christians should address going forward, such as the inclusion and recognition of women, so that churches can embrace the full dignity of all its members. Dr. Paris pointed to African indigenous religions as a potential resource for constructing a holistic and contextualized African theology. Dr. Thorton shared his research that shows Africans from the Congo were active in introducing African Catholic Christianity to Diaspora communities in the New World. The panel was attended by faculty, students, and members of the community, and a lively discussion followed. This was a successful start to hopefully more discussions in the School of Theology about religion in the African Diaspora.