Legacies of Racism and Ethnic Conflict Lead Session


Congo churches radio broadcast services during COVID

Prominent theologians will wrestle with the legacies of racism and ethnic conflict, including that in the  mission field, during a virtual session Saturday, Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 14.

On Saturday, Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 14, Congo Mission Network will host a two-part forum called “Theological Reflection on Legacies of Racism and Ethnic Conflict.” Prominent theologians steeped in the issues of both countries will discuss the history of mission, race, and colonialism.

To be broadcast across 10 time zones,  the event will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, 4 p.m. Kinshasa time, and 5 p.m. in the Kasaïs in Congo. The event is free and all are welcome, but you must register at https://congopartners.org/register2020/  to get a link to attend. Sessions will last 90 minutes to two hours each and will include time for questions and answers.

Speakers will examine the legacies of racism in the U.S. and Africa, which include our church’s complicity with racist practices and discrimination against Black mission co-workers. They will explore how people of faith can move forward in a better way.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, speakers and their topics will be:

Dr. Elsie McKee, Rev. Simon Kabue Mbala to speak Nov. 7
Dr. Elsie McKee, the Rev. Simon Kabue Mbala to speak Nov. 7

Dr. Elsie McKee, Professor of Reformation Studies (and the History of Worship) at Princeton Theological Seminary. She will split her time into two parts:

·     Reformed Theology and the Historical Background to Slavery

·      Evidence of Racism in Early Missionary Circles

The Rev. Dr. Simon Kabue Mbala, Professor of New Testament and Rector of UPRECO in Kananga,  DR Congo. (UPRECO is the Sheppard and Lapsley Presbyterian University of Congo.) He will discuss “Race and Nation in the Bible:  Theological Reflections on Ethnic Diversity.”

On Saturday, Nov. 14, speakers and their topics will be:

The Rev. Kabala Mboyamba, the Rev. Jimmie Ray Hawkins to speak Nov. 14.
The Rev. Kabala Mboyamba, the Rev. Jimmie Ray Hawkins to speak Nov. 14.

The Rev. Kabala Mboyamba, Congo Presbyterian Community (CPC)  director of evangelism and church life and CPC legal representative. He will talk about “Unity, Justice and Reconciliation for the Country.”

“We approach this theme as pastors and evangelists,” he said, adding that their work has five parts:

·      The Holy Trinity in relation to unity, justice and reconciliation for peace: the Creator’s Being and his will.

·      Christian life in CPC from the beginning to this day.

·      Attempts at resolutions for unity, justice and reconciliation in CPC and results obtained.

·      The reconciliation.

·      Christian life in CPC at the time of COVID-19.

The Rev. Jimmie Ray Hawkins, director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington DC, will talk about the legacy of slavery and racism in the US and the way forward. Rev. Hawkins has long been immersed in social justice issues, including serving as a leader for the Moral Monday Movement, speaking out on behalf of migrants, and advocated on issues of social justice before congressional and state legislative leadership.

The Congo Mission Network Conference, which is taking place in the form of short sessions through the fall and winter, is exploring topics through the lens of the Belhar Confession, written in South Africa in 1982 in response to Apartheid. As the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the inequalities that exist worldwide, at least in part as a result of racism and colonialism, participants will examine our past with brokenness and seek a path to a better future.

For a list of all remaining sessions, please click here.