The Call for African Missional Consciousness through Renewed Mission Praxis in URCSA

Keywords: missional consciousness, mission agency, mission partners, mission praxis, African, Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA), Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), agency

Abstract

The Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) has since its inception always celebrated its prophetic and missional heritage from all the avenues of the black church. However, it remains crucial to reflect whether this can be ascribed only to a few individuals and whether the struggle against injustice was nurtured on “grassroots” level. The black churches in their own right have certainly made significant contributions during the apartheid years. However, the impact of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) on the black wing of the church, in terms of its mission thought and practice, will still be felt by the newly established church (URCSA) for some years to come. Therefore, this contribution focuses specifically on the mission praxis that has been apparent in the DRC in the Cape since 1652, but it will also subsequently discuss various historical developments in terms of mission thought and practice within the DRC family until 1994 and beyond—the 25 years since the existence of URCSA. The article will provide a fragmentary historical account aimed at presenting an idea of the thought and practice of mission before and after the establishment of URCSA. This paper argues—as part of a critical reflection on the said period—that URCSA should position itself in such a way that it does not perpetuate the patterns of mission thought and practice of the past. It would be crucial for the church to avoid the objectification of mission, as well as being too comfortable to focus on forming external partnerships, without tenaciously and intentionally establishing a praxis of African “missional consciousness” in URCSA.

Author Biography

Eugene Baron, University of the Free State

Lecturer, Department of Practical and Missional Theology

University of the Free State.

Published
2019-09-12