Boston University hosts the second oldest African Studies Center in the United States, and is recognized by the federal government for its excellence in the study of African languages and cultures. The School of Theology is a vital component of African Studies at Boston University, beginning with the sending of graduates to Africa as missionaries over a century ago. Important African alumni include Bishop Josiah Kibira (1964 graduate), the first African head of the Lutheran World Federation; Dr. Kenaleone Ketshabile, Head of the Mission Desk, Methodist Church of Southern Africa; Yusufu Turaki, Professor and former General Secretary of the Evangelical Church of West Africa; and Professor Emmanuel Anyambod, Rector of the Protestant University of Central Africa.
Prof. Daneel (Bishop Moses) and tree-planting eucharist
Africa research in the CGCM grows from the work of retired Professor M.L. “Inus” Daneel. His over forty-year presence among African Initiated Churches in Zimbabwe culminated in the 1990s with the largest tree-planting movement in southern Africa, and a program in Theological Education by Extension. The son of missionary parents, Daneel served as a missionary of the Dutch Mission Councils, and then as professor of African theology and missiology at the University of South Africa. He and Professor Robert co-edit the African Initiatives in Christian Mission Series, published by the University of South Africa Press. The goal of the series is to reflect upon contemporary African Christianity, and to document its expansion. Other Africa projects include the digitization and posting of Daneel’s photography, and ongoing research into southern African traditions of earth-care.
The Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB), now located in the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, held its first annual meeting October 26-28, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This was the first meeting of the DACB advisory council and editorial committee, which consists of ten members: Edison Kalengyo, Michele Sigg, Deji Ayegboyin, Priscille Njomhoue, Jonathan Bonk, James Amanze, Lamin Sanneh, Thomas Oduro (shown in the photo above from left-right), Philomena Mwaura, Paul Nkwi and Dana Robert. They launched the first of many planned annual meetings of the DACB leadership team.
The 2014 commenement of Boston University marks the 40th anniversary of the graduation of one of the School of Theology’s most important African graduates: the late Bishop Josiah Mutabuzi Kibira. Josiah Kibira graduated with an S.T.M. from the School of Theology in 1964. A pioneering local and international leader, Josiah Kibira became the first African to be elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Buhaya, Tanzania. He served in the World Council of Churches, and was the keynote speaker at the All Africa Conference of Churches General Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bishop Kibira was also the first African to be elected president of the Lutheran World Federation. The memory of Bishop Kibira’s leadership is marked by the establishment in 2010 of an institution of higher education in his name, the Josiah Kibira University College in Bukoba, Tanzania. His son, Josiah Mwesigwa Kibira, is an established director and screenwriter, who in 2010 released a documentary about his father, Bishop Kibira of Bukoba: An African Lutheran. For a fuller account of Bishop Kibira’s life and service, see his biography on the Dictionary of African Christian Biography, and the History of Missiology.
The Association of Black Seminarians presents a panel on ‘Christianity and Spirituality in the African Diaspora.’ The Panelists are Dr. Peter Paris, Dr. John Thornton and Rev. Derek Muwina. CGCM director Dr. Dana Robert will be the moderator.
The CGMC was delighted by the visit of Rev. Dr. Fohle Lygunda, Head of the Department of Missiology at International Leadership University (ILU) – Burundi, on June 14. Dr. Lygunda and Dr. Dana Robert discussed a possible collaboration for the Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB), which was transferred to Boston University in 2012. Dr. Lygunda previously worked as a Project Luke Fellow for the DACB at Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC) in New Haven, CT. He also wrote an article on Central Africa for theAtlas of Global Christianity: 1910-2010. Under his leadership, ILU-Burundi launched a master’s program in Missiology, in which doctoral student Daewon Moon hasserved as a visiting lecturer since 2012.