Black Church Activism and Contested Multiculturalism

                            in Europe, North America, and Africa


    Birkbeck, University of London, May 29-30, 2012

 WEBCAST: JUNE 8, 2012

Venue: Room B36 main campus Malet Street, Bloomsbury London WC1E 7HX


Monday May 28:       House of Lords. 3:00-4:30

Pre-Conference Event: Local policy networking and dialogue on “Immigrants and Criminalization,” Presenters will include: Iva Carruthers, The Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, USA; Coretta Phillips, London School of Economics and Political Science; Farida Anderson, Partners of Prisoners Families Support Group, UK; and Marla Frederick, Harvard University, USA.


Tuesday May 29:

9:00 a.m.                     Welcome (University of London officials)

9:10-9:30                     Framing the Context (Dr. R. Drew Smith, Dr. William Ackah)

9:30                             Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Keynote Address:  Dr. Anthony Reddie, Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Studies

10:30                           Tea Break

10:45                           Plenary Panel:  Pan-African Christianity and the Enduring Significance of Race

12:15                           Adjourn morning session

12:30                           Lunch

1:30                             Concurrent Panels (1,2,3)

3:00                             Break

3:30                             Concurrent Panels (4, 5,6)

5:00                             Adjourn afternoon session

—Dinner on your own—

7:30                             Evening Keynote Address: Dr. Allan Boesak, University of the Free State

Venue: Swiss Church, London, 79 Endell Street, Central London


Wednesday, May 30:

9:00 a.m.                     Recap and preliminary synopsis, (Dr. Rothney Tshaka, Dr. Smith)

9:15                             Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Keynote Address:  Dr. Carol B. Duncan, Wilfred Laurier University

10:15                           Tea break

10:30                           Plenary Panel: African Christian Mobility and Cross-Cultural Contextualizations

12:00                           Lunch

1:15                             Concurrent Panels (7,8,9)

2:45                             Break

3:15                             Plenary Panel 3: Churches and Black Youth Empowerment

4.45                             Break

5:00                             Final Overview and Challenge, (Dr. Ackah, Dr. Boesak, Dr. Smith)

5:30                             Dismissal



“Telling the Truth and Shaming the Devil: A 21st Century Rethinking of Christianity’s Anti-Blackness Problematic“

Anthony G. Reddie, Research Fellow in Black Theology, The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical

Theological Studies, UK


“Will the Real Black People Stand Up? Multiculturalisms and Black Christianities in Canada”

Carol B. Duncan, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfred

Laurier University, Canada





Plenary Panel 1: Pan-African Christianity and the Enduring Significance of Race

1). “The Collision of Racism and the Truth of the Cross,” Leah Gaskin Fitchue, Payne Theological Seminary

2). “Racial Politics, Christian Theology and Bible Translation: A Troubling Tripartite Alliance,” Gosnell L. Yorke, University of KwaZulu-Natal

3). What is the Defining Divide? False Post-Racial Dogmas and Biblical Affirmations of Race,” Sivakumar Rajagopalan, London Baptist Association

4). “Benjamin Elijah Mays, Freedom Struggles, and Modern Lessons from 1930s Black Churches,” Randal M. Jelks, University of Kansas

5). Life-giving Assets at Thabo Mbeki Village: Black Faith and the Baal’s of Multiculturalism in the 21st Century,” Vuyani Vellum, University of Pretoria


Plenary Panel 2: African Christian Mobility and Cross-Cultural Contextualizations

1). “Multiculturalism and the Missiological Significance of African Immigrant Churches in the United Kingdom,” Matthews A. Ojo, Dept. Religious Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University

2). “The Narrative of Creativity and Resistance of the African Pentecostal Diaspora in Italy,”

Annalisa Butticci, University of Padova

3). “Identity and Ecumenical Partnership of Churches of African Origin in Germany,” Benjamin Simon

4). “The Mouride Brotherhood in the Construction of Black-Senegalese Identity in Spain,” Isabel Maureira

5). “The Impact and Challenges of West African Immigrant Congregations within Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference,” Olufemi A. Fatunmbi, Royal Dominion International Church in Los Angeles


Plenary Panel 3: Churches and Black Youth Empowerment         

1). “After the UK Riots: Fathers, Gangs, and Moral Formation of Young People,” David Muir, Faith in Britain

2). “The Preachers and the Powers that BET: Black Activist Clergy and the Quest for Social Justice in the era of Hip Hop,” Michael Brandon McCormack, Vanderbilt University, Graduate Department of Religion

3). “Exploring Creolised Black Identities Amongst Church Youth in South Africa: Where Has South African Black Theology Been?,” Reggie Nel, UNISA

4). “Seven Challenges: Black Majority Churches and Youth Development in the U.K.,” Stephen Quashie





Panel One: Churches and Race Transitions in the American South

1). “William Stuart Nelson and the Interfaith
Origins of the Civil Rights Movement,” Dennis C. Dickerson, James M. Lawson Jr. Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

2). “They Must Have a Different God than our God”: A Lived Theology of Black Churchwomen during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement” AnneMarie Mingo, Emory University, Graduate Division of Religion

3). “Catholic Responses to Educational Inequality in mid-20th Century South Carolina,” Luci Vaden, University of South Carolina


Panel Two:  African American Christianity and Post-Movement Black Consciousness

1). “Religious and Ethnic Diversities and Cultural Politics in America,” Forrest Harris, Vanderbilt University and American Baptist College

2). “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian: Barack Obama and the Jeremiah Wright Controversy,” Dawn-Marie Gibson, History Department, Royal Holloway, University of London

3). “Challenges of Globalization for an African American Liberation Theology,” Osagyefo Sekou


Panel Three:  Church Responsiveness to Social Struggles of African Women

1). “The Changing Roles of Women in the Church: The Case Study of Women in Calabar, 1900-2000,”

Ekwutosi Essien Offiong, Department of History and International Studies,University of Calabar, Calabar

2). “No Man Behind Me: Singleness for Seventh Day Adventist Black Women in the U.K.,” Val Bernard-Allan,  freelance lecturer with an interest in gender ethnicity and faith

3). “The Pain in the Black Garment: Pastoral study of the Widowhood Amongst African People,” M.E. Baloyi, Department of Practical Theology, University of South Africa


Panel Four: African American Church Responses to Black Criminalization and Hyper-Incarceration

1). “Occupy the Heart: To Be Free At Last!” Iva E. Carruthers, Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, Inc.

2). “Biblical Reflection: Free The Captives,” Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Pastor Emeritus, Trinity U.C.C. , Chicago

3). “Dismantling Stuctures of Racism and Hyper-Incarceration: A Global View,” Kaleema H. Al-Nur, Kindred Afro-American Alliance

4). “Interrupting The School to Prison Pipeline,” Willie DeWayne Francois III, Wheeler Ave. Baptist Church, Houston

5). “Black Church Activism: Response to the Threat of Private Prisons,” Tiauna Boyd, Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, Inc.



Panel Five: Violence Against LGBTQ Community in Newark, NJ:  Black Churches and Voices of Resistance and OppressionThis paper with a panel of respondents examines how the 2003 murder in Newark, New Jersey of a 15 year old Black female self-identified as gay serves as a catalyst to explore how local religious and LGBTQ activism interrogate and reconstruct “normative” understandings of oppression and resistance.

1) Toniesha L. Taylor, Languages and Communication, Prairie View A & M University

2) Darnell Moore, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, New York University

3) Gayle R. Baldwin, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Dakota


Panel Six:  Black Churches and Multicultural Opportunities and Obstacles

1).” A Multicultural Theology of Difference,” Gordon Dames, Practical Theology, University of South Africa

2). “UK African Diaspora Faith Groups, Multiculturalism, and the Millennium Development Goals: Toward a Common Development Agenda?” Lucy Mbugua, Make Poverty History Campaign and Knox Chitiyo, Royal United Services Institute

3). “The Significance of Multicultural Churches in Britain: A Case Study of Crofton Park Baptist,” Israel Oluwole Olofinjana, Catford Community Church

4). “African American Churches and Resistance to Multiculturalism,” Rudy Rasmus, St. John’s Methodist Church, Houston, Texas


Panel Seven: Interfaith and Cross-Cultural Considerations

1). “Interfaith Relations in the Apartheid Context: The Case of Coloured People’s Congregational Song in Kroonvale, South Africa,” Marie Jorritsma, University of the Witwatersrand

2). “Islam, Christianity, and the Resistance Identities of Americans of African Descent,” Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid

3). “Black Identity, Land, and Theology: Reflections on Muamar Al-Gadafi and His Birth and Death in Sirte,” BB Tumi Senokoane, Dept. of Systematic Theology and Theological Ethics, Univ. of South Africa

4). “Black Cultural Elements in Latino Worship in a California Congregation,” Ty-Juana Taylor, University of California, Los Angeles


Panel Eight: Canadian Church Life and Black Alignments

1). “Untold Stories: Histories and Heritages of Black Peoples in The United Church of Canada,” Adele Halliday, United Church of Canada

2). “A Perspective of Cultural Diversity in an Anglican Setting,” Sonia Hinds, University of Toronto

3). “Caribbean Creole Religions and Black Religious Experiences in Canada,” Carol B. Duncan, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfred Laurier University, Canada


Panel Nine: Churches, Social “Otherness,” and Community Alienation

1). “Inspired Hymns as a Belief System in the Kimbanguist Church: A Revelation of the Meanings of Blackness,” Aurélien Mokoko Gampiot, Ph.D., GSRL-CNRS, Paris, France

2). “African American Churches, Community Organizing, and Voice for the Voiceless,” Nelson Jerome Pierce, Jr., Beloved Community Church, Silverton, Ohio

3). “A Tennessee Case Study of Increased Church-Community Animosities,” Earle J. Fisher, University of Memphis

4). “The Language of ‘Diversity’ in Reconstructing Whiteness in the Dutch Reformed Church,” Cobus van Wyngaard, Dept. Of Philosophy and Systematic theology, University of South Africa


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