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Stellenbosch Theological Journal

On-line version ISSN 2413-9467
Print version ISSN 2413-9459


VHUMANI, Magezi. 'Glocal' and integrated churches within a practical theological imagination of 'home away from home': towards a ministry of migrants and refugees in diaspora. STJ [online]. 2017, vol.3, n.1, pp.227-250. ISSN 2413-9467.

Migration has become a major global challenge in recent years. Host countries' responses to migrants are varied - some accommodate and integrate migrants, others are apathetic, and migrants face exclusion and violent rejection. This suggests that host countries have developed mechanisms to cope with the challenges posed by migrants. Migrants have also developed systems to mitigate the impact of the challenges they encounter, such as the establishment of churches in their host countries. These churches may be referred to as 'glocal churches'. In view of this, this article considers a practical theological imagination of 'home away from home' as a migrant-theological and ministry-informing approach and draws on the theological notion that all humans are foreigners (or migrants - homo viator) in whichever life spaces they exist. This study argues that this approach provides a crucial nexus and challenge for church ministry integration in contexts of migration and challenges countries to be hospitable based on Imago Dei (theology) and human dignity (human rights) principles. It is argued that maintained Imago Dei and human dignity provide a critical link between churches and a nation. Furthermore, the notions of 'inclusiveness' for host people and 'home away from final eschatological home' for migrants provide a practical theological imagination that challenge a host country's citizens to positively consider migrants and migrants to avoid self-exclusion practices and establish integrated churches and communities.

Keywords : Migrants and refugees; theology of migration; theological imagination; 'glocal' churches; practical theology of home.

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