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Welcome to Ecumenical Studies and Social Ethics

In 2006 the Department of Religion and Theology established two related research frameworks, namely on “Moral Education: The formation of a human rights culture” and on “Ecumenical Studies and Social Transformation in Africa”.

 

 Ecumenical Studies and Social Ethics

 

In 2006 the Department of Religion and Theology established two related research frameworks, namely on “Moral Education: The formation of a human rights culture” and on “Ecumenical Studies and Social Transformation in Africa”. These collaborative frameworks integrate a large number of research initiatives of staff members and postgraduate students in the department. UWC has a long and proud history of engaging in ecumenical theology addressing ecumenical rubrics such as “Faith and Order”, “Life and Work” / “Church and Society”, “Ecclesiology and Ethics” and Dialogue with other living Faiths”. One of the core aims of such work is the establishment of a Desmond Tutu Chair of Ecumenical Theology and Social Transformation in Africa. Funding for such a position has been secured so that an appointment can hopefully be made soon. This is also related to the vision for a Desmond Tutu Centre that will investigate the role of a number of ecumenical organisations in the Western Cape region as agents and dynamos for social transformation.

Recent initiatives in this rather broad area include the following:

• There are three ongoing doctoral projects in the field of “Mapping Systematic Theology in Africa”, namely by Xolani Sakuba, John Fischer and Mavuto Jambulosi.

• Demaine Solomons and Edwin Arrison are doing postgraduate projects on reconciliation from a theological perspective.

• Several students, including Brain Herbert, Ken Ndalamba and Sam Lakey have been working on an appropriate leadership ethos.

• Several students, including Daniel Andrew, Adonis Booyse, Cedric Jansen, Murray Coetzee, Mavuto Jambulosi and Willie Engelbrecht, have been working on postgraduate projects that investigate notions of ecumenicity in the African context.

• Christo Lombard is leading a long-standing project on “Moral and religious education in South African schools”. The aim is threefold, namely to collect relevant curricula, teaching materials and academic papers about teaching paradigms related to religious and moral education in public schools, to compile an extensive bibliography of relevant literature and to research the perception of the new South African curricula and the reception thereof in schools. Ananias Iita is doing doctoral research on the same theme in the Namibian context. Eugene Baron, another doctoral student, is investigating theories of moral formation with the view of assessing the role of media in the formation of a public ethos. On the basis of several international papers by Christo Lombard, the project leader, he was asked to organise an international conference on the theme of inter-cultural religious education (IRE), which was hosted in the first week of September 2011, at UWC.

• Following earlier discussions with former postgraduate students at UWC, most notably Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Robert Owusu Agyarko, a conference was hosted by the Ghana Baptist University College (where these former students are now teaching) on the theme of “Church and environment” in Kumasi, Ghana, 26-29 April 2011. Three members of the Department of Religion and Theology attended this conference and presented papers, namely Ernst Conradie, Douglas Lawrie and Miranda Pillay.

• Christo Lombard and Ernst Conradie participated with colleagues from Stellenbosch University, the Uniting Reformed Church and from German reformed churches in a project on “Civil society, globalization and social justice” leading to several publications and international

papers on the theme.

• Miranda Pillay is leading several initiatives to address issues around violence against women

and children and to empower African women theologians.

 

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