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Doing Ministry in the Igbo Context

Towards an Emerging Model and Method for the Church in Africa- Foreword by Theophilus Okere

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Cajetan E. Ebuziem

Doing Ministry in the Igbo Context: Towards an Emerging Model and Method for the Church in Africa arises out of reflection on experience and practice. The volume reflects on the author’s own cultural context, religious heritage, and pastoral functioning. In addition, it considers the author’s personal experiences in relation to the common experiences of others within the author’s cultural and religious traditions and places these experiences and the voices they represent into mutually critical correlation. Thus, commonalities and dissonances in them emerge leading to insights where to go from there in providing ministry to the People of God in the «local church» context and still within the framework of one universal church. This book presents a contextual model of local theology that begins its reflection with the Igbo cultural context. The Igbo or Nigerian or African Church can have a pattern of ministry with a model and a method that are consistent with the peoples’ values. To accomplish this goal a local cultural value must be explored and brought into the scene. Since the Igbo society is the heart of Christianity and Catholicism in Africa, the author relies on Igboland as his situational context. The exploration of the indigenous Igbo value of collaboration will be an advantage in ministering to the rest of the African people who have cultural resemblances to Igbos. The African Church has to learn from the Igbo values of umunna bu ike. Umunna is the basic Igbo unit, and possibly the most powerful missionary force in Igboland, and potentially an Igbo gift to the Church in Nigeria and Africa, and even beyond.

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CONTENTS

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Foreword ............................................................................................................. ix Acknowledgments ............................................................................................. xiii List of Abbreviations...........................................................................................xv Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 Part One: Attending – Sources of Information Chapter One. Experience of Ministry in Igboland .................................... 19 What is Ministry? ............................................................................................... 20 Igbo Identity: Who is an Igbo? .......................................................................... 25 Individual Experiences: Voices of Individual Christians ................................. 44 Communal Experience: Voice of a Faith (Christian) Community .................. 49 Chapter Two. Ministry in the Christian Tradition.................................... 61 Scriptural Foundation for the Origin of Ministry ............................................ 61 Ordained Ministry ............................................................................................. 69 Lay Ministry: Four Compelling Voices – Vatican II, John Paul II, Paul Lakeland, and Theophilus Okere............... 81 Chapter Three. Foundation for Doing Ministry in the Igbo Context....... 125 Igbo Spirituality and Work Philosophy........................................................... 125 The Concept of Umunna in Igbo Culture....................................................... 130 Patterns of Governance or Leadership in Igbo Culture ................................. 134 viii •DOING MINISTRY IN THE IGBO CONTEXT• Part Two: Correlation and Pastoral Response Chapter Four. Correlation of Voices: Human Experience, Christian Tradition, and Igbo Culture …………………………………………………….………. 145 Areas of Commonality in the Three Sources .................................................. 146 Areas of Dissonance in the Three Sources ...................................................... 166 Commendations and Recommendations ....................................................... 170 Towards a Contextualized Theology of Ministry ............................................ 179 Chapter Five. Doing Ministry in the Igbo Context: Emerging Model and Method, and Proposals for Action ............................................................185 The Case of a Parish Community ................................................................... 185 Emerging Model of Ministry............................................................................ 189 Emerging Method of Ministry ......................................................................... 197 Pastoral Implications ........................................................................................ 204 Implementation ................................................................................................ 221 Evaluation and Conclusion ............................................................................. 228 Appendices ....................................................................................................... 239 Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 243 Index ................................................................................................................. 257 FOREWORD his book aims to develop a pattern of Christian Ministry compatible and consonant with the peoples’ values. The values he explores are the Igbo values of solidarity. The...

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