Pastor’s Brunch 2015

At the end of 2015, CMMW gathered together 15 pastors and leaders originating from 10 different countries as diverse as South Korea, Peru, Jamaica, Ethiopia and India. All now find themselves living as missionaries in the UK today, some having left their countries of birth with the express purpose of serving God here, while others have found themselves here through various circumstances, including fleeing their countries or coming to study, and it was while they were here that they sensed that God was calling them as missionaries to this place.
The purpose of the CMMW Brunch event was to encourage these pastors and missionaries, providing space to share their stories and discuss together the realities of mission in the UK today.
Girma Bishaw, pastor of the Ethiopian Christian Fellowship in Kings Cross, kindly hosted the event, and opened the event by posing a question to the leaders from the Biblical story of Elijah, a man who asked “why are you here?” That same question can be asked of us today – why are we in Britain? Girma believes it is because of the great agenda of God on our lives, to bless this country. There are people of every nation living in the UK, and the question he encouraged us to ask ourselves is: “Am I making an influence?”
Peter Oyugi, one of the CMMW team, and originally from Kenya, shared the vision of the Centre, which aims to be a hub stimulating networking and partnership. Their main aims are:
1. To encourage and equip those who have come to minister in the UK to continue to live out the gospel here
2. To help the UK, as the host nation, to understand those who are coming (this is needed as we often live out aspects of our Christian faith differently to each other)
3. To provide a forum for publications/writing by those from the majority world who are ministering in the UK, and inspire thinking and a change of attitude in scholarship, as the knowledge and experience of those from the majority world is shared and heard
4. Help equip those coming to minister in the UK to identify good places to do so and to plant churches
Israel Olofinjana, another CMMW team member, from Nigeria, reflected from the book of Esther: we have found ourselves here “for such a time as this”, with God using Christians from the majority world at this time to give birth to a missionary movement of people to the West. Each pastor at the event was given time to share their own story, and describe how God is at work through their ministry in the UK.
The keynote talk, Models of Mission in a Globalised World, was given by Dr Samuel Cueva, and based on his PhD. Samuel is from Peru and pastor of Iglesia Misionera Evangelica, a Spanish-speaking Latin American church in London. He reflected on the various models of mission, describing the new ‘Emergent Model’ which is emerging. This model sees missionaries, often from the global south, coming with little support, and under the influence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit rather than coming from a position of power and influence. The model is also often less bureaucratic, more flexible and more relational, with its missionaries having a strong spirituality and confidence in God. However, the individuals often have weak financial support and lack proper training in cross-cultural mission.
Samuel described how God is bringing migrants from the South to the North, mobilising a new mission force. Most are not sent by mission agencies, so when we ask then “who sent you?” they often answer “the Holy Spirit”, and wonder why you are asking such a question!
Sometimes these emergent missionaries come to reach out to people of their own ethnicity in the host nation, and can find problems in reaching out to other groups. Samuel argues that while ministering to those from your own ethnicity is valid, missionaries also need to be open to the culture in which they find themselves, looking out into the wider community rather than being closed or insular. There is also a need to model unity with the Christian community in the host nation.
Dr Samuel Cueva’s book Mission Partnership in Creative Tension is available to purchase online.
If you would like the CMMW team to host an event in your area, contact us via our web page.

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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PARTNERSHIP IN MISSION – PRESS RELEASE

Partnership in Mission Book Cover

What does the future of the UK church look like?

What is the black majority church and how does it feature in the bigger picture?

How is it partnering in mission with the wider UK church?

What dynamic is created by the presence of black majority churches?
_____________________________________________________________________

Want to know what the future of the UK church looks like? Put simply, it looks multi-ethnic.

Church growth in the UK is argued by some commentators to be dominated by the myriad of black majority churches (BMC) which continue to spring up in this country. These churches have played and continue to play a significant role in the history of the British church, encompassing a wide range of theologies, structures, missiologies, cultures and ethnicities.

Yet many in the wider church are unfamiliar with BMC and while some might welcome the energy and creativity they bring others might equally take the view that they can be divisive.

Of chief importance is the question of unity and what impact BMC are having in the area of ecumenism, vitally, how they will partner in mission with the wider UK church.

Written from a black Majority Church perspective the primary purpose of this book is to look at the intercultural ecumenism emerging between BMC and historic Churches. Israel Olofinjana explores how Black Majority Churches at national, regional and local level are working together in unity and partnership with non-African Christians in the historic and mainstream churches in Britain.
In doing this he asks ‘What is the BMC? How heterogeneous is the movement? What opportunities are there for partnership with the wider church?’

He covers the history and diversity of BMC in London and their development from being migrant sanctuaries to undergoing a theological shift that is enabling them to engage in holistic mission. Readers are invited to jointly experience the riches of multicultural Christian expressions in faith and practice.

Dr Kate Coleman, founder of next Leadership, says: ‘Israel’s latest offering goes the extra mile, beyond documentation, by proposing insightful and pragmatic ways that UK Christians can further express the prophetic nature of what must inevitably be increasingly creative and diverse expressions of mission and ministry in the unfolding history of the United Kingdom’.

This book challenges us to rethink our understanding of mission in light of Britain’s fast-changing social landscape. How can Black Majority Churches and other churches partner to effect structural and institutional change in our culturally and ethnically diverse society?

What reviewers think:

‘The rise of the BMC, their spread and growth, life and vitality, is the great untold story of British Christianity in the last three decades, and is vital to understanding the current and future shape of the church. In this book, Rev Olofinjana proves himself again one of the most capable and lucid interpreters of the BMC scene. Here he turns to ecumenical relationships, particularly to the good things that have happened between BMC and historic churches over the years.’
Dr Stephen Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Theology, St Andrews University

‘This book is thoroughly researched and excellently and factually presented. I pray that the content of this book will further remind its readers about Christ’s prayer for the unity of His church and help us to accept and embrace one another in love.’
Father Olu Abiola, General Superintendent of Aladura International Church
and President of Council of African and Afro-Caribbean Churches UK

‘Israel’s claim that “It will now be impossible to write the history of the church in Britain without proper reference to Black Majority Churches” is both true and important.
Dr Lucy Peppiatt, Principal, Westminster Theological Centre

‘Contributions to world Christianity by Christians in and from Africa have been immense. These contributions benefit all Christians, no matter where they live. I warmly recommend this book to all concerned readers and practitioners.’
Reverend Professor Daniel Jeyaraj, Professor, World Christianity & Director
of Andrew Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity,
Liverpool Hope University

‘Not many people have been able to explore and articulate the distinctiveness and peculiarity of Black Majority and ethnic churches as Israel has clearly done in his book. The book can help leaders who are dreaming of integration and how to get along with people, churches and para-churches that are vastly different from them.
Rev Yemi Adedeji, Director, One People Commission, Evangelical Alliance

‘Israel’s presentations then and his book now display a wide knowledge of the history of BMC, a keen awareness of where they are and what they are doing today, a good discernment of the issues they face and a challenging assessment of what those of us in the long-established churches could do.’
John Richardson, former Ecumenical Officer, Churches Together in South London

About the author

Israel Oluwole Olofinjana is the pastor of Woolwich Central Baptist Church, a Black Majority multicultural, multi-ethnic intergenerational church in south east London, and director of Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World. He has authored several books on the subject of reverse mission.

For review copies and media enquiries contact Manoj:info@instantapostle.com 07932 463 591
Partnership In Mission (ISBN 978-1-909728-35-6) by Israel Oluwole Olofinjana is published by Instant Apostle and is available from Lion Hudson c/o Marston and eden.co.uk

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Unity in Diversity (Racial Justice Sunday)

Unity in diversity by Lucy Olofinjana

Living in London, we see such rich ethnic diversity around us every day. And being part of a multicultural church such as my church Woolwich Central Baptist, I think we experience something of the taste of heaven that was mentioned there – as God’s people come together as one people to worship him.
In one sense it is a shame that we need to have a Racial Justice Sunday in the national church calendar. But part of the reason it exists is because of the sad reality that the Church has itself been guilty of the sin of racism and prejudice. God’s people have not always come together as one, or treated each other as equal, and indeed still now in many ways we fall short of the unity which God intended for his people, and which Jesus prayed for in John 17, just before he was crucified.
In the book Turning the tables on mission my husband Israel Olofinjana has compiled stories of Christians from various nations across Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean who have come to the UK as God’s missionaries to be used by him here. One of these people is Jose Carlos, a Brazilian missionary who lives and ministers with his family in Northern Ireland. For me, the saddest part of their story was not the fact that their car was burnt in an attack outside their house, but that within their local church people who should have been their brothers and sisters in Christ were so hostile and overtly racist. Jose tells the story of how, after setting up an English class, there was the need for a crèche for the children of the mothers in the class. In his own words, Jose recalls how the church volunteers ‘threatened to boycott the crèche if we kept bringing black children to their creche’ and how they locked away the children’s beakers because ‘they did not want to share the beakers with the black children, fearing contamination’.
And this didn’t occur in the 1960s or 70s, but in 2004.
When this story was read at the book’s launch, there was a palpable shock and deep sadness in the audience, and Steve Clifford, our general director at the Evangelical Alliance, led us in a time of heartfelt prayer, repenting for the sin of racism which has too often scarred the UK Church.
And in wider society we still see racism today. From the disproportionate levels of stop and search, to the way immigrants and refugees are talked about and new arrivals are often treated, to the fact that there is still no war memorial to the soldiers from the colonies who fought in the two world wars –.
I could go on.

But Racial Justice Sunday also exists in a positive sense to remind us of the equal value and respect that we are all entitled to, not because of ‘human rights law’, but firstly because we are all God’s children, one under him, and all created in his image.
And this day is a great opportunity to remind us of the Biblical call to unity in diversity – a theme which we find throughout the Bible.
We see God’s creative diversity in Genesis 1, where God created trees ‘according to their kind’ and he made the human race male and female. We see it in the 12 tribes of Israel with their various roles, and with Ruth the Moabite who married into the Jewish people and became an ancestor of Jesus.
And Jesus’ life when he was on earth communicated God’s intention that the family of faith would extend beyond Jews to all peoples on earth. We see this Jesus’ encounters with the Samaritan woman in John 4, the centurion in Matthew 8 and the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15.
The Great Commission speaks of making disciples of all nations, and at the very birth of the Church at Pentecost in Acts 2 we see unity in diversity.
Here, at the birth of the church, there were people gathered from a wide range of nations, who could suddenly hear each other speaking in their own languages when the Holy Spirit came on them and united God’s people across their national divides.
In an earlier Bible story in the Old Testament – the Tower of Babel – people had been divided and spoke different languages following their human sin and pride in trying to build a tower that reached to heaven. But here in the New Testament we read how the Holy Spirit acted at Pentecost to reverse this division, showing us in a prophetic symbol that we are all now united through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
And much of Acts is about Jewish followers such as Peter coming to the realisation that God wanted Gentiles as well as Jews to be part of the Church, and working out how this unity in diversity would look in practice, for example in the distribution of food as we read in Acts 6.
So we can clearly see that the Bible is full of stories of unity in diversity.

One body
The passage that was read earlier, from 1 Corinthians chapter 12, speaks of us, the Church, God’s people, as a body, made up of many parts.
Verse 1 reads: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” And verse 27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
The body is a fantastic image, because it is both a whole – united and complete – but yet is also made up of many different and distinct parts, from the eye to the ear, and the head to the feet.
And that’s the joy of unity – it is not about uniformity.
Real unity is not about all being the same, or thinking or doing things in the same way. But unity is about recognising the positive qualities and the value of others, and respecting and working alongside them.
It is about all being connected to each other, like a family. As verse 26 reads: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured every part rejoices with it.”
It is also about recognising that we need one another. After all – as we are reminded in this familiar Bible passage – where would the body be if it were made up only of ears, or only eyes?
So 1 Corinthians 12 gives us a great picture of the diversity that exists in God’s body, the Church, and yet the unity we are called to as God’s people – “For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

Living out this unity
But unity won’t just happen – it is something we have to live out intentionally.
I don’t know about you, but as someone who goes to a multicultural church, and is married to a Nigerian, I can become complacent and assume that I’ve got it sorted, and I have no problems when it comes to unity in diversity.
But I am challenged when I ponder on certain questions:
• how often do I judge others for doing things differently from the way I do, assuming that I’ve got it right and they must have got it wrong?
• do I talk disrespectfully about styles of church which are different from mine, assuming my church has got it all right?
• outside of the Sunday morning service, do I only really hang around with people who are similar to me? (PLUs as someone described them – People Like Us)

Love
I don’t think it was a mistake that Paul, the writer of this letter, followed 1 Corinthians chapter 12, which focuses on unity in diversity, with chapter 13 which focuses on love.
1 Corinthians 13 contains the famous passage on love which is often read out at weddings, “love is patient, love is kind…” etc.
But the love Paul was talking about here is not in fact the mutual love between a couple, or between family members or friends.
The Greek word Paul used here was agape. And this speaks of sacrificial love – of choosing to love not just those who love us back and treat us well, but those who we find it hard to love, or even to like!
Commentator David Guzik describes this agape love:
“Agape is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting repayment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given. It gives because it loves; it does not love in order to receive… The word has little to do with emotion; it has much to do with self-denial for the sake of another.”
Let’s translate that to us as the Church.
Love is a choice.
We choose to love and respect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, even if we don’t agree on everything. Because respecting each other doesn’t mean we have to agree with each other all the time – but it means we choose to listen and to speak well of each other.
We are called to love that person who sings out loud in praise when we just want it to be quiet and reflective.
We are called to love the person who we can’t understand because they never seem to show the exuberance and joy of the Lord, when we can’t stop expressing our self loudly in praise to God.
We are called to love the person who asks so many questions about God and faith, when we wonder why they can’t just trust that God knows the answers.
We are called to speak well of the church that seems to be mono-cultural, when we could only ever imagine worshipping in a multicultural community.

Pride
As 1 Corinthians 13 talks about sacrificial love, it says those familiar words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it goes not boast, it is not proud.”
When we really take those words in, and consider if that is how we are treating our brothers and sisters in Christ, it really gives us food for thought.
I want to focus on just one of those phrases before I close – “Love is not proud”.
Because in order to truly love one another and live in unity, we cannot be constantly judging each other, or assuming that we know best.
If we’re honest, pride is probably the biggest cause of disunity among us.
Pride in our opinions and our way of doing things, which means we don’t respect others who may do things differently.
And too much pride in ourselves, meaning we take things too seriously and aren’t quick to forgive and overlook misunderstandings or unintended offences.
Because if we do make the effort to spend time and build relationships with people who are different from us and who do things differently, we are bound to get offended along the way, and we need to take this lightly.
For example, there have been a few occasions where West African members of my church have pointed out to me that I’ve put on weight recently. Now as an English lady that is probably the worst, most offensive thing you could ever say, even if it is true! And although it did hurt at the time, I had to decide not to take offence and hold a grudge, because I know they did not realise I would be hurt by what they said, and that in their culture it is not meant as an offence, and can even be a compliment!
And when my husband arrived from Nigeria, he had to get used to the reserved British way of doing things, including making appointments to go round to a friends’ house three weeks in advance rather than popping in randomly and knowing that you will be welcome any time!
Why we do it
But the joys of unity in diversity do far outweigh the sacrifices.
And without you saying anything, being unified with people of different backgrounds to you does communicate a truth to the world – that we are all one in Christ.
And in intentionally living out our unity, we are fulfilling what Jesus prayed to God the father for in John 17, just before he was arrested:
I close now with that prayer of Jesus, which is central to all we do as an Evangelical Alliance. From John 17 v 20-23:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

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Intercultural Ecumenism between Black Majority Churches (BMCs) and British Baptists in London

What on earth are Black Majority Churches (BMCs)? The history of BMCs in London is very phenomenal because within a short period of 60 years they have grown from rejection to influence, that is, from Windrush (The famous ship that brought Caribbean migrants in 1948) to Jesus House! Their historical development is rich and diverse in nature, however the generic term; Black Majority Churches is problematic as it does not address the diversity that exists within these Churches. Black Majority Churches are diverse in terms of ecclesiology, theology and missiology. Some of them are Churches while others are Para-Church organisations or agencies. Some of them are independent Pentecostal Churches while others are part of Historic Churches. Some are from Pentecostal, Holiness and Evangelical Tradition while others are Sabbatarians. Some of them are Unitarians while others are Trinitarians. Some of them have embraced Black Liberation Theology while others do preach Prosperity Gospel. Some of them have grown to become Church denominations while others are still independent Churches. Some are Church plants from their denominational Churches back in the Caribbean or Africa while others are Churches that have started here in London. These are examples to illustrate the richness of their diversity.

The genesis of BMC in London can be traced back to 1906 with the founding of Sumner Road Chapel started by Rev Thomas Kwame Brem-Wilson in Peckham, South East London. Rev Brem-Wilson, a business man and school master was born into a wealthy family in Dixcove, Ghana around 1855. He migrated to Britain in 1901 and later founded Sumner Road Chapel known today as Sureway International Christian Ministries now in Herne Hill South East London. However, this is not the first BMC in Britain. That honour goes to a church founded by John Jea in the early nineteenth century. After a fruitful itinerant ministry in North America and Europe, John settled down in Portsmouth, England with his wife, Mary and possibly started a church in their house circa 1805-1815. The 1940s and 1950s saw the influx of Caribbean families into the UK due to the invitation of the British government asking them to come and help rebuild the country after the devastations of the Second World War. Many people from the Caribbean responded to this call but to their surprise and dismay they were rejected by the society and the Church. This rejection with other factors such mission to the UK led to the formation of Caribbean Pentecostal and Holiness Churches in London and the midlands.

The independence of African countries from around 1957 onwards led to African diplomats, students, tourist coming to Britain. When they discovered like the Caribbeans before them that they were rejected by the British Churches and society at large, this led to the founding of African Instituted Churches (AICs) in London. The 1980s and 1990s saw the emergence of African Newer Pentecostal Churches (ANPCs). The 1990s also witnessed the birth of independent Caribbean Pentecostal Churches in London. It is the explosive growth of these African and Caribbean Churches in the 1990s that has drawn the attention of scholars and the media to BMCs.

What relationship exists between British Baptists and BMCs? This is happening through the sharing and use of church buildings. This has been going on since the 1960s and while some of these relationships have the power dynamics of that of a landlord and tenant, we are seeing cases where Baptist churches are good hosts to their neighbour churches. I have seen good examples of this in Greenwich where I lead a Baptist church. For example, our church Woolwich Central Baptist Church is a host to a Caribbean Pentecostal church called Pentecostal City Mission. Pentecostal City Mission uses our church building on a Sunday afternoon after us in the morning. Our church has a good working relationship with Pentecostal City Mission and we have also had joint activities such as watch-night service and Sports day. In addition, I have a good relationship with Pastor Roy, the minister of Pentecostal Mission. Another example in Greenwich is the relationship between East Plumstead Baptist Church and Rivers of Life Church. East Plumstead Baptist Church host Rivers of Life Church in their building on Sunday afternoons. Rev Raphael Amoako-Atta and Bishop Brissett are good friends and respect each other’s ministries. East Plumstead Baptist Church is also a host to another church on a Saturday. This is the Nepalese Fellowship which actually grew out of the church.

In conclusion, the proliferation and diversity of BMCs in London will continue so long as there is migration (This is becoming difficult in the UK) and London remains a global city. But in addition, God’s creative Spirit will continue to stir the hearts of people to mission and intercultural ecumenism. British Baptists have a part to play in welcoming BMCs into their buildings. While the sharing of church buildings is still a problem in some Baptist churches, others are doing well in taking interest in their tenants!

Some of this material is adapted from my recent book, Partnership in Mission: A Black Majority Church Perspective on Mission and Church Unity available on amazon.co.uk

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Book Reviews on African Christianity in the West

In one of my recent blogs titled, “The Emergence of African Theologians in Britain” I started reflecting on African scholars in Britain who are writing about the phenomenon of African Christianity in Britain. As a continuation of that reflection, I offer these reviews of books written by two of those scholars. The first is Sent Forth: African Missionary Work in the West (2014) published by Orbis Books and written by Dr Harvey Kwiyani and the second is The Holy Spirit in African Christianity: An Empirical Study (2015) published by Paternoster (an imprint of Authentic Media) written by Rev Dr Chigor Chike.

The two books are theological reflections on African Christianity in the West as it is unfolding. Kwiyani’s book focusing more on the context in the United States is a missiological study, while Chike’s book looking at the British context is a study on Pneumatology (Person and Work of the Holy Spirit). Both books demonstrate that African Christianity in the West is now flourishing and needs mature theological discourses. Kwiyani’s book combined current understanding of the Missional Church looking at the works of mission theologians such  as Leslie Newbigin, Andrew Walls and Darrell Guder with works of current African Theologians such as Afe Adogame, Jehu Hanciles and Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu. This unique reflection advances scholarpship on African missionary work in the West. A thesis that Kwiyani worked with throughout the book is the idea of the “Blessed Reflex” which developed with the modern missionary movement   and continued through the Edinburgh missionary conference in 1910 that the younger churches (African , Latin American and Asian Churches) will one day be a blessing to the West. This is the idea of reverse mission that many African pastors in Britain are now working with. Kwiyani, prefering the terms Blessed Reflex, African missionary work in the West and mulicultural missionary movement  instead of reverse mission highlighted some of the challenges that African pastors and missionaries are facing in the West and how they can overcome by working in partnership with the Western Church.

Chike on the other hand surveyed previous works on African Christianity and located a gap. This gap is the lack of study on the theology of African Churches in Britain. Chike’s previous work, African Christianity in Britain: Diaspora, Doctrines and Dialogue (2007) examined what African Christians now living in Britain do believe about God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and the Bible, however in the current work, he focused on their belief in the Holy Spirit. This Pneumatological study becomes significant in the light of the understanding that African Pentecostal Churches are taking the lead in planting churches in Britain. While Chike’s work examine the belief of African Pentecostal Churches in Britain, the study was not however limited to Pentecostal churches as he examined what African Churches within Historic Churches also believe about the Spirit. The case studies were drawn from the Church of England, Methodist church, Pentecostal church and an African Initiated Church (AIC) making a rich diverse views on the Holy Spirit. Chike identified five factors that affects the African Christian’s view of the Holy Spirit. They are personal and communal experience of the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the African worldview, African Traditional concepts of God and the worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic movement.

I want to recommend these two books written by friends of mine as a way of understanding the theology of African Christians in the West.

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A Black Majority Church Perspective on Mission and Church Unity

Partnership in Mission Book CoverPartnership in Mission: A Black Majority Church Perspective on Mission and Church Unity is the title of a forth coming book that I have just finish researching. The book documents contemporary history of Black Majority Churches, their mission theology and intercultural ecumenical engagement. Here is the synopsis of the book

What on earth are Black Majority Churches and are they a homogenous church movement in Britain? These are some of the questions this short book seeks to address. The book argues that Black Majority Churches are certainly part of the British Church landscape and that a history of the Church in Britain would be incomplete without the history and mission of Black Majority Churches. The book also articulates clearly that these churches are diverse in terms of theology, church structure, mission, culture and ethnicity. In this respect, it can be argued that Black Majority Churches (BMC) can also be referred to as Black Multicultural Churches (BMC)!
A further question this book explores is, now that we have so many Black Majority Churches in Britain what is their mission theology? What kind of relationship do they have with Historic Churches such as Church of England, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches (URC)? The sharing and use of church building is one example of how these two groups of churches are working together in mission. Other examples are through local church networks and mission initiatives such as food banks, winter night shelters and Street Pastors. What are the challenges and opportunities in the sharing of church building between a Church of England and a Black Majority Church? This book gives examples of this shedding more light on the history of ecumenism between these two groups of churches and current practices.

Revd Dr Michael N. Jagessar, writer, theologian and a former moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church has this to say about the book:

This is a timely and much needed contribution to the British ecumenical landscape and Israel Olofinjana is ideally located to be the one to make this contribution. As a member of the African Diaspora in the UK, Olofinjana is aware of the challenges faced by ‘migrant churches’, the growth among what is known as Black Majority Churches (BMC’s), and the dynamic ecumenical intercultural trends on the ground – especially in London. Olofinjana’s contribution will certainly mean that any current and future writing of the history of Church or ecumenism in Britain must reckon with the presence of BMC’s! This volume will certainly help kick-start fruitful conversations on unconventional grassroots ecumenical partnerships, the complexity of the history and intra-diversity of BMC’s, and open up opportunities for Churches to move out of the ‘transit lounge’ of a tired kind of ecumenism. There is much here to build on and take in multiple directions!

The book will be officially out in October but is ready for pre-order on amazon.co.uk

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