14 July 2004
‘God is Black’ says Past President ahead of International Conference on Black Theology
Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal, Past President of the Methodist Conference, promises controversy and celebration at Roots and Routes, an International Conference on Black Theology, held this weekend in Sheffield.
Representatives from the UK, the Pacific, India, Jamaica, South Africa, and US will come together to reflect, document and promote Black Theology.
Mr Bhogal, Director of the Urban Theology Unit, which trains Methodist ministers and has co-organised the Conference, said: "To say 'God is Black' reflects on the way God identifies with black people and our experience of God. Over the last twenty years Black Theology has emerged from black people reflecting on their experiences of God, especially in relation to our varied roots - our heritages, our histories, our hurts, our hopes - and routes, by which I mean the ways that we will flag up markers for our continuing journeys."
Since the last International Conference, held a decade ago, a significant movement in Black Theology in the UK has developed. Mr Bhogal explained: "Black theologians have come forward with distinctive and intelligent contributions to black theology. Roots and Routes will challenge participants to push the frontiers of black theology even further."
Roots and Routes is supported by the Racial Justice office of The Methodist Church. Naboth Muchopa, Secretary for Racial Justice, said: "Black theology underpins the challenge for racial justice and equality. This Conference will further raise the profile of black theology, and will help us in our long term aims of integrating black theology and racism awareness training into the theological training programmes for lay and ordained people."
The Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield and the Black Theology centre of Birmingham University hold regular British Black Theology forums. These two forums have jointly organised Roots and Routes, held on 15th - 17th at the Wilson Carlile College of Evangelism, Sheffield.
A Black Theology Reader will be published following the
conference, including selected papers published over the last ten
years in the UK.