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Partnership and relationship in Africa

Author: Henrik Sonne Petersen
Date: 18.08.2010
Category: Partnership

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Partnership and relationship in Africa

In recent mission related work with organizations and churches from Northern Europe partnership takes on meaning primarily from a wish to create frameworks for transparent and effective cooperation with the expressed intention to generate mutuality. And yet we struggle not only to create partnerships, but to find expressions of a good partnership.

Looking at the idea of partnership neither transparency nor efficiency are charged expressions, but as basic expressions of partnership they tend, unnoticed, to introduce a modern worldview fueled by visions of globalization. Mutuality is the central concept of partnership, and has as such a number of expressions. Bishop Kibera, ELCT (Tanzania) has repeatedly been quoted in this regard: “No church is so poor that it has nothing to share with others, and no church is so rich that it has nothing to learn from others.” From ELCA in the US, Danmission from Denmark has been inspired to express the concept of mutuality in terms of ”accompaniment”, drawing on the powerful story of Jesus accompanying a couple on the way to Emmaus. But, although both expressions and intentions are genuine, and the concept of mutuality is central and accepted, it seems as if we still have a long way to go to establish real partnership between Churches and organizations working across international and cultural boundaries.

From theologians in Africa a voice has been given to a deep concern of African citizens not to be dragged innocently into another situation of exploitation. Instead partnerships with Northern and Western partners must be limited and controlled, if not avoided altogether. Father Laurent Magesa, Tanzania, have launched severe critique of the cooperation in mission, claiming that it basically neglects central human values, which are endemic in the African continent although not so in other continents. Magesa has especially pointed to the metaphor of host and visitor as central in this regard. From the Democratic Republic of Congo Dr Kä Mana has pointed to the possibility of releasing spirituality through a reinterpretation of the rich mythology from Egypt and other countries in Africa, allowing a genuine African understanding of reality to develop.

While the two examples mentioned lead us to think that Africa might be better off without a partnership with churches of the North, other theologians like Professor Lamin Saneh and the late Dr Kwame Bediako points to the necessity of maintaining relationship in the Universal Church in order to learn from each other and to be able to reinterpret the Christian heritage.

Bishop Zac of Uganda has contributed to this discussion through one of the Global Conversations preceding the third Lausanne World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa 2010. Here Bishop Zac calls us to take serious that mission is not ours, and that the expansion of Christianity in Africa is not primarily a response to the Great Commission. Rather it is a spiritual movement, initiated by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, which calls us not to send or be sent, but to pay more attention to God, already at work in African communities.

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Keywords: partnership, relations, africa, biblical perspective, Mission of God, mutuality

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Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Mariusbrand (0)
South Africa

Community farms: (Kibbutz)

4 land & wealth redistribution, to evangelise the community: To train, educate, work,  live and have a base from where to launch missionaries into the community. A community farm is where the Christians in the community corporately owns the property. Our corporate finances provide cost of the farm, infrastructure & accommodation for those working on farms.  Investors, invest directly in the crops to secure food and jobs for the people. Thousands of jobs will be created where people could be evangelise, reconciled, unity restored and worldviews changed to a Biblical one. Farms will act as a place of employment, a basic income, a missionary training School, an orphanage and launching pad to send trained missionaries. Here Christ Jesus will be a way of living where the community will see what we preach!

 Three legs: (Operating separately)

 1.   Accommodation and employers Lodges/Hostels on farms with infrastructure:

2.   Education, “Skills” development, Discipleship training & orphanages.

3.   Agricultural projects – investment arm. (Project financing). Outside investors.

      Full scale business to create a holistic cosmos to the missionary to have the  infrastructure needed to live and operate in without lack or limitations.

 Shammah Foundation: Marius Brand: Cell 082 9210 275, e-mail -


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Country: Denmark

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