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Cunningham Lecture: 'The God of Mama Rabecca Jumba: African Women as forerunners in re-imagining Christianities'

Worldwide, predominately women fill the pews of the churches across the different denominations, they maintain the church communities spiritually financially and pastorally. These contributions are, however, muted or not visiblized. In her article “World Christianity as a women’s movement”, Dana Roberts (2006) asks what the study of World Christianity would look like, when women are put in the centre. Given the fact that most Christians in the emerging/growing churches of the world are women, the study of gender should be at the centre of studying World Christianity.

In this presentation we recover the variety and traditions of the distant past and we recite diverse “herstories” of the recent past and present day with women in East Africa at the centre. The focus is on the important role of women in the foundation, expansion, and leadership of African independent churches, amidst patriarchy, neo-colonialism, racism, and sexism. We particularly remember and honour Mama Rabecca Jumba, High Priest of the African Israel Nineveh Church (Kenya) between 1974 and 1983). We lay out traces of the lived theology of Mama Rabecca and other women-leaders in this African instituted church.

This event will be taking place in the Martin Hall and will also be livestreamed online.


Professor Esther Mombo

Colour head and shoulders photo of Professor Esther Mombo
Professor Esther Mombo

Professor Esther Mombo teaches church history and theologies from women’s perspectives and interfaith courses and writes on women’s issues, evangelism, HIV/AIDS, Christian-Muslim relations, and poverty in Africa. She works closely with the Programme for Christian and Muslim relations in Africa and is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians. Her areas of service include networking among Christian and Muslim women leaders on issues of Dialogue. She has previously served on the Inter-Anglican Doctrinal and Theological Commission. Mombo earned her B.D. from St. Paul's United Theological College, M.Phil. from Trinity College Dublin, and Ph.D. at Edinburgh University.