After a time of much restriction and confinement occasioned by the corona virus, it was finally possible over the last three days to convene Malawi’s National Theology Conference. It was hosted at Nkhoma Mission – a historic site currently being reinvented as a University campus.
Over the past twenty years there has been a proliferation of institutions teaching theology in Malawi. Some are public universities, others are church-run universities, others again are seminaries or independent colleges. Until now there have been few, if any, opportunities for their faculty members to meet together for conference and collaboration.
The delegates therefore came to Nkhoma with a strong sense of excitement and anticipation. There were around 50 participants from some 12 institutions. Despite 2020 having been a difficult year for all concerned, there was an upbeat mood at the conference with everyone feeling positive about the possibilities it represents.
Around 20 scholars presented papers about their current research, provoking discussion that was both respectful and vigorous. It modelled what many have been looking for – an opportunity to sharpen their thinking and broaden their perspectives through interaction with their peers.
By the time it came to the final session about planning for the future there was not much doubt about what was going to happen. It was unanimously agreed to establish a national network that will run such conferences, and other collaborative ventures, in future. A steering committee was elected to work out the organisational details and everyone departed with high hopes for the future. Watch this space.