Several things struck me as I viewed this post on Khanya (see blog roll). The first was how the world used to be (South Africa) Many years ago the scene below would have been highly unlikely. The second thing is how much the world has changed, and is still changing with increasing rapidity, since the second world war. Finally , the universality of our Christian faith is astounding. Storm clouds usually produce rainbows when the sun shines through the clouds.
Among Orthodox clerics, the wide range of human skin color has always been great. Among Roman Catholic clergy far less so. With Anglicanism, also less so until quite recently. Nowadays the most vibrant and lively part of the Anglican world is with subsaharan Africa and Asia. This is especially true with the ACNA and its affiliate bodies.
Here is North America, we have had a hard time with our own prejudices and preferences. This is not to say that prejudices and preferences do not also rule or direct the actions of other racial groups or cultures. They do, especially when political, religious, or cultural power is involved. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” remains true today.
The post below is from Khanya which may be accessed through my blog roll.
Fr Athanasius outside the graduation hall
Revd Fr Dr Athanasius (Amos) Akunda, D.Th.
Fr Athanasius goes to kneel before the Pro-Vice Cancellor to be capped
Fr Athanasius with his academic supervisors: Prof Nico Botha, Dr Athanasius Akunda, Dr Stephen Hayes:
The graduation ceremony was conducted by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor because the university Vice Chancellor and Principal, the Revd Nyameko Barney Pityana, was himself among the graduates. In spite of having numerous degrees, including doctorates, he graduated as a Master of Laws (LLM) in the field of Labour Law, thus epitomising the university’s principle of lifelong learning.
His thesis was on Orthodox dialogue with Bunyore culture.
Father Athanasius grew up among the Banyore people in western Kenya, and he became Orthodox with his family when he was about 12 years old. The Orthodox Church was planted there by Bishop Arthur Gathuna and other missionaries from Kenya, but during the Mau Mau emergency in the early 1950s, when most of the Orthodox Kenyan clergy were detained in British concentration camps, they also received ministry from clergy from across the nearby Ugandan border.
Father Athanasius worked long and hard on his thesis, taking advantage of trips home to Kenya to conduct interviews among people in the Bunyore Orthodox Churchs, though his own experience in growing up in the area helped a great deal. It also entailed a great deal of reading, to see how Orthodoxy was inculturated in other places, such as Alaska. The external examiners for the thesis were from other universities in Greece, Kenya and South Africa, to ensure that the thesis met international academic standards. I have over 30 versions of his thesis on my computer, and perhaps they could themselves be the subject of a doctoral thesis on how a thesis develops from the rough first draft to the final product! The last version is yet to come: Fr Athanasius must go through it one final time, to incorporate improvements suggested by the examiners, and the final product will go into the university library, and will be microfilmed for distribution to other university libraries.