IPTA (Introduction to Public Theology in Africa)

IPTA stands for “Introduction to Public Theology in Africa.” IPTA is the preliminary name for a book that will introduce Public Theology to theological schools, churches, NGOs and FBOs and all Christians who want to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The project has two parts: one will be conceptualizing and writing the book and the second one will be introducing it in the different regions of our continent.

Grants

We applied for grants and are in anticipation hoping to receive what is needed to continue with the project after the AGM of July 2018. The first good news is reported on below.

Good news

Langham Partnership is willing to publish the book we intend to write in their Hippo series and have seconded Isobel Stevenson to our project. A meeting between Langham’s Literature Director Pieter Kwant[1], the dean and the NetACT Internet Portal project team on January 11 has greatly strengthened the bond between Langham and NetACT. The fact that our designated editor, Dr Sunday Agang, has authored several publications with Langham played no small part in the success of the meeting. He and Isobel are an established team.

Isobel Stevenson is a Senior Editor with Langham Publishers. She grew up in South Africa, studied at Stellenbosch, and taught Applied Linguistics at UNISA. Even though she now lives in Canada, she has maintained a close connection to Africa as the coordinating editor for the Africa Bible Commentary and the main editor for Hippo Books. She has previously worked closely with Dr Agang in publishing his book, No More Cheeks to Turn, and has also edited Dr Samuel Kunhiyop’s textbook, African Christian Ethics. These projects, and many others, have prepared her for her role in our team. Isobel as Langham writing coach will work alongside Dr Agang who is the general editor of this textbook. Chapter-authors will be asked to submit early samples of their work to her, and she and Dr Agang will give feedback aimed at ensuring that the work is at the appropriate level and addresses the topic in the way envisaged when the work was commissioned.

More good news  

The NetACT office met with the Vice President and CEO of the Tyndale House Foundation on January 11, 2018. THF has supported NetACT financially in various projects, including the Internet Portal, and we have helped them with advice, research and networking in their African Leadership Study and other projects. They were excited to hear about the IPTA project and “insisted” that the book be translated into Portuguese and French, and that we do it in collaboration with a number of French-speaking theological schools in which they have invested heavily. Key countries are Ivory Coast, Ghana, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The foundation has offered to provide the funding needed to have one or two French representatives attend our July meeting. THF and Langham already have a good working relationship.

Still more good news  

Dr Len Hansen and I met with EFSA[2], who have sponsored many of our meetings and the publication of most of our books. They will continue to do so with the Community Development project (and all expenses related to the publication of the work done) and with IPTA. They are positive about Langham and Tyndale’s involvement (and for that matter about anyone who is willing to contribute to the overall goals of the project). They will also help us to network with some of the most outstanding leaders in the field of public theology in Africa and globally.

Project planning

We foresee the IPTA project having two phases. In the first one, we will produce the book. In the second phase, we will hold workshops in as many countries / regions in Africa as possible to introduce the book. The second phase will require several teams. For the moment, we need to focus on phase one and the planned meeting in Wellington. Our meeting will begin with a dinner on the Tuesday evening and will conclude at 13:00 on Friday 6 July.

Current Participants

The project team (as required by die Nagel grant and Langham) need to be representative of the different regions in Africa. We are still waiting to receive the names of the French delegation.

  • West Africa (Nigeria):  Doctors Sunday Bobai Agang; editorial project leader; Tersur Aben; Musa Hassan.
  • South-West Africa: Rev Avelino Rafael.
  • South Africa: Doctors Dion Forster; Nelus Niemandt, Rian Venter.
  • East Africa: Doctors. Maggie Madimbo, Nathan Chiroma, Tom Obenga
  • Ethiopia & South Sudan: Dr Theodros Teklu, Rev Moses Deng Bol.
  • Administrative: Dr Sunday Agang, with Isobel Stevenson & Jurgens Hendriks will form the executive of the project.

In addition: We are in a process of getting more specialized team members to help plan and write.