Religion and Philosophy
Stephen, Neill, IMC, Survey, Africa, Theological, Education, WCC, CMS, Missions
From April to July of 1950, Bishop Stephen Neill (1900-1984) took a sweeping tour of East and West Africa to assess the state of African theological education. He visited Egypt, Sudan, and the six British territories in tropical Africa: Tanganyika, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Gold Coast (Ghana), and Sierra Leone. Employed by the World Council of Churches at the time, Neill was appointed by the International Missionary Council to spearhead the project. The overall objective was to shed light on what could be done to improve the quality of theological education and the training of ministry in Africa. Neill produced a considerable amount of material during and after the trip including a 120-page ‘travel diary’ and a 51-page confidential report.
Arising out of the Whitby World Missionary Conference of 1947 and spearheaded by Bengt Sundkler, Norman Goodall, Kenneth Scott Latourette, Neill’s tour of East and West Africa was part of an ambitious attempt to understand the state of the worldwide ecumenical church in the aftermath of war.
This paper has three goals:
Explain how and why this tour of African theological education came together;
Provide an overview of Neill’s research trip through his diary entries; and
Reflect on Neill’s conclusions and suggestions for what ought to be done.
Studies in World Christianity
Daughrity, D. (2012). Bishop Stephen Neill, the IMC and the state of African theological education in 1950. Studies in World Christianity, 18(1), 41-62. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1ddcphf.14