Repositioning Theological Institutions for Urban Ministry - A Case for the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST)

Emmanuel Akatukunda


The unprecedented urbanisation trends in Africa have not been matched with the corresponding theological formation and praxis that is consciously oriented towards the urban in terms of curriculum, pedagogy and spirituality. Nevertheless, theological institutions can be active stakeholders in their cities to the extent that they envision those cities theologically. The author used the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST) as a case study to explore how a theological repositioning that facilitates transformative
urban ministry can happen. KEST could reposition itself, appreciating its central urban location and becoming deliberate about embracing an urban ethos, outlook and praxis.
A description of a city like Kampala is a starting point and a foil for ministry insertion and theological reflection that informs praxis. The theological portrait of a flourishing city provides biblical/theological motifs that could be helpful in reimagining African cities beyond the existing fractures. A contextualised urban theology must necessarily grapple with the grim realities of many African cities while reflecting on a balanced theological vision for flourishing African cities characterised by shalom, hope, community, and an effective urban ecology. Lastly, the article proposes practical steps that theological institutions such as KEST could take in order to reposition for transformative urban ministry. They include repositioning the urban identity by deliberately making the city the centre of theological reflection and engagement, epistemological and pedagogical repositioning, which involves retrieving knowledge and experience of various stakeholders to inform and guide theological reflection and becoming hubs for urban ministry praxis, which could be a potential egalitarian space where it is safe for those on the margins to engage on equal terms with those in power.


Flourishing African Cities; Kampala; Urban Africa; Urban Ministry

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