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Adult Education Presents: Race, Colonialism, and the Church
March 31 @ 9:30 am - April 14 @ 10:45 am EDT
By Rebekah McLeod Hutto, Joshua Narcisse, and Hannah Faye Allred
During our 250th Anniversary year at Brick Church we welcomed scholars who gave historical lectures on Presbyterian history the last 250 years. Dr. James Moorhead from Princeton Seminary lectured here February 26, 2017 on “America’s Original Sin”, on the divisions in the Presbyterian church from those for or against slavery (a lecture you can view here). But he also spoke about the colonization efforts of many Presbyterians in the North. This colonialization, as history has taught us, has fractured the Church and led to several of the racial and religious divisions we see today. Over three weeks, three scholars will discuss colonization and the Church from distinct geographical areas. As we seek to understand our history more clearly, and become more faithful in the process, let us learn together.
Sunday March 31 Dr. Aliou Niang from Union Theological Seminary will present “God, Christianity, and Colonization in Senegal, West Africa.” This lecture is a historical primer on Christianity and colonization in Senegal, West Africa, emphasizing the relationship between colonization and Christianity. Dr. Niang’s first book (Faith and Freedom in Galatia and Senegal: The Apostle Paul, Colonists and Sending Gods, Brill, 2009) compares the colonial objectification of his people by French colonists to the Greco-Roman Colonial objectifications of the ancient Celts/Gauls/Galatians, and explores Paul’s role in bringing about a different portrayal. His teaching and research explore themes and issues in Biblical and Postcolonial Theologies.
Sunday April 7 Dr. Tisa Wenger, from Yale Divinity School, will present “Pipelines, Presbyteries, and the Doctrine of Discovery: Indigenous Voices on Christianity and U.S. Settler Colonialism.” Dr. Wenger’s interests include religious encounters in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States, especially the U.S. West; the cultural politics of religious freedom; and the intersections of race, religion, and empire in American history. Her current research asks how colonial encounters made and re-made both indigenous and white settler religion in the early national United States. Dr. Wenger is also interested in questions of how Christianity has determined the limits of religious freedom and what that means for Native Americans and indigenous religions.
Sunday April 14 Dr. Dirk Smit from Princeton Theological Seminary will present “Perspectives from Apartheid South Africa.” Dr. Smit came to Princeton Seminary from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, where he served as Professor of Systematic Theology. Over the past three decades, Smit has emerged as one of South Africa’s most significant theologians. He has written extensively on the legacy of the Reformed tradition and its relevance to contemporary theological, social, and political questions. He has been a particularly prominent and influential voice in the church’s repudiation of apartheid. Smit was one of the primary authors of the Belhar Confession, recently adopted as part of the PC(USA) Book of Confessions.