About 20 young people have been invited to share their stories and experiences as young Black people in Europe; trace the role of the churches in their life story; and frame and articulate their vision of visible unity and common witness for the wider movement.
The group will also bring a youth perspective to the decolonisation and racial justice work of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. Another goal of the gathering is to press European partners into an engagement on racial justice as a key mission and ecumenical task.
The term "Afropean" was coined first within the music scene to describe music created together by European and African artists, and then was further pressed by a Black British author, Johnny Pitts, to remind us that Europe is not the “white man’s home.”
Europe is home to tens of millions of Africans and Black Europeans, but its “whiteness” remains “omnipresent” as the default nature of what it means to be European. Blackness is still treated as an inauthentic form of European-ness, a product of migration, even though there have been Black populations in Europe since the Roman times.
From politics to education, cultural institutions to popular histories, Europe’s racial inequalities and colonial past are beginning to be challenged, but the lives, voices, and leadership of its Black populations are still barely visible in many important spaces, including ecclesial and ecumenical ones. For example, in the entire UK there are only two Black scholars teaching theology.
Racist inequalities are impacting all African descendent communities in Europe but especially young Black people. They are at the forefront of challenging the adaptation of European systems to address the legacies of colonisation and claim the fruits of their heritage as European and African descendents.
The event aims to bring some to listen to this gathering in the expectation it can begin to help Europe map out some new ways in its ecumenical and mission agenda. This is the beginning of a new emphasis CWME wants to place on the perspectives of young people on mission and evangelism.