The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Theological Education programme has, for the second time, contributed to ecumenical capacity development in Morocco. The WCC helped instruct a course on contextual theologies and African theologies at the Ecumenical Theological Institute Al Mowafaqa in Rabat.
Founded in 2012, the Al Mowafaqa Institute offers theological education programmes for students mainly from churches of francophone sub-Saharan Africa living in Morocco. The institute also helps facilitate interreligious dialogue in the Muslim-majority country.
From 18-22 February, 15 students of the certificate programme in theology, originating from Burundi, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, residing in Morocco and representing both Roman Catholic and Protestant church traditions, participated in a course jointly conducted by Fr Didier Mupaya, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Prof. Dr Amélé Ekué, representing the WCC.
The ecumenical study module on the history, development and themes of contextual and African theologies – designed and delivered by a Roman Catholic and a Protestant theologian – offered a method of a double contextualisation. On the one hand, the learning inspired to reflect on the necessity of translating Christianity ever afresh in different cultural milieus, and, on the other hand, to re-actualise the universality of the Gospel message.
The course provided insights on how African theologians developed responses to the identity conflict of being African and being Christian, instilled since the missionary period and also explored together with the students on how African theologies provide viable avenues for an intercultural theological conversation with other regions of the world. The location of the Ecumenical Theological Institute Al Mowafaqa in a Muslim country lent a complementary accent to the course. The learning blended the efforts to elaborate theology in Africa both as a programme and as a lived reality in neighbourhoods with other religions. The students brought to the fore that African theologies, as all contextual theologies, need to be considered in their full transformative potential for the societies in which they are embedded.