Around 25 theologians and mission thinkers gathered at the Evangelical Alliance offices for a day considering identity, mission and citizenship: intergenerational diaspora conversations. The day was jointly planned and hosted by CTE, BIAPT, Evangelical Alliance and Global Connections.
The morning session started with Chinese American theologian Dr Alex Chow from Edinburgh University. Dr Chow gave a survey of the Chinese diaspora Christian community in Britain. He reminded us that racism is not simply a black and white issue but rather all migrant communities experience different levels of racism in subtle and complex ways. Dr Chow spoke of the massive influx of Hong Kong Chinese in the last 18 months and the way Chinese churches have grown rapidly as a result and the opportunities therein.
Pastor Wonu Adefala from Global Connections channelled her Nigerian energy and shared some of her own story in crossing cultural boundaries coming to the UK at primary school age and now leading her own congregation.
A vibrant conversation then took place between the keynote speakers and Shermara Fletcher (CTE) and Carla Jacobs (EA). This was hosted by Rev Dr Israel Olofinjana and considered how to create healthy intergenerational spaces in our church communities.
In the afternoon some recent PhD graduates shared short papers around the theme of the day. Dr Jamie Klair (currently an ordinand in training at Ridley Cambridge) gave a paper entitled Free to Believe: stories of the young, Christian, Nigerian diaspora in London which drew on research amongst younger Redeemed Christian Church of God members.
Zimbabwean Anglican Priest Revd Elizabeth Piki gave an overview of her continuing PhD work asking, What role can the Church, its pastoral ministers and workers, play in supporting young black men affiliated to the Zimbabwean Anglican Community Fellowship in the UK?
Rich conversations and networking took place over the coffee breaks and the shared meal. The day was organised chiefly by CTE’s Mission Research Network.
Dr Alex Chow’s keynote address can be downloaded here