The History and Theology of the Ecumenical Movement in East Africa
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This book focuses on the history and Theology of the Ecumenical Movement in East Africa, focuses on how ecumenism has been understood by the Christians in this part of Africa. Just as there is a broad understanding of ecumenism in many countries of the world, there are also shifts in the way ecumenical movement has been conceived and carried out in East Africa. The history and theology of the Ecumenical Movement in East Africa, therefore, adds more literature to the already existing great wealth of knowledge in the area of ecumenism. However, its major aim is to address the deficiency of the materials related directly to the various history and theology of the ecumenical movement syllabi in institutions of higher learning in East Africa. The book aims at two things. Firstly, it is an effort to produce a textbook that can be used in teaching ecumenics in tertiary institutions in East Africa. Secondly, it is an attempt at setting the boundaries and the agenda for the future development of ecumenics in colleges and universities in East Africa. The choice of chapters in this book was partly determined by the course outlines from tertiary institutions in East Africa that offer ecumenics. This book, therefore, is intended to be a modest textbook that provides some directions and perspectives of what is to be taught at tertiary level in east Africa. As a guide to the study of the history and theology of the ecumenical movement in east Africa, this book highlights the emergence and teaching of the ecumenical bodies at global, regional and national levels. It is a study of the history and theology of ecumenism as traditionally associated with the movement towards unity as began by the non-roman catholic churches in east Africa which wanted to overcome the tendency toward denominationalism and rivalry that characterized much of the early church activities in the region. Two ecumenical challenges in east Africa are addressed in this book. The first challenge is among Christians from different ecclesiastical traditions. For many years, there has been historical and theological misrepresentation of the various religious traditions. And yet in the east Africa, the majority of Christians belong to certain Christian traditions not because of any theological convictions, but because they happen to be born in those traditions. The history and theology of the ecumenical movement in east Africa, therefore, is presented in such a way that the reader is helped to: (a) Learn a new way of relating to Christians from different traditions. (b) Realize that he true ecumenism doesn’t come from courses on ecumenism since it is not simply an intellectual enterprise, although these courses are very important for raising awareness; neither does it come from services organized for special occasions, although this is also fundamental in witnessing to the world. Rather it comes from practical experience in daily life. Ecumenism, therefore, must have some success in people’s relationships. The second challenge is among African Christians who have a strong background of African spirituality. In the recent past, many of the first generation African ecumenical theologians have been encouraged to learn to be humble in the face of the enrichment that African spirituality brings to Christianity. Respect for the African spirituality brings Christianity. Respect for the African spirituality helps to recognize the limitations of a kind of Christianity whose world view is western that has existed in east Africa for a long time. In this book, there has been deliberate attempt to work towards a better understanding of African spirituality.
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