The context in which the Church is called to execute her mission is drastically different in the 21st century compared with the 20th century. The 20th century was not characterised by the idea that our present lifestyle can threaten the lives of future generations by causing climate change and destroying ecological systems. There are most probably now more people living with HIV than the total number of people a century ago in our region. Both affluence and poverty has increased beyond expectation. We did not have the situation where 40% of pregnant women were HIV positive in many communities, leading to a large increase in orphans and vulnerable children.
The political context has changed, both nationally and internationally. The migration of large numbers of people from other African countries is expected to increase in future.
Previous experience is not sufficient to deal with these new situations, and the Church has to develop the skills to investigate new contexts, understand it, and develop meaningful responses. Practice research and experiential learning becomes important to be able to respond to rapidly changing events. The Centre for Sustainable Communities provides opportunities to develop resources for executing the Church’s mission in the context of this century. It does so with a network of partners from a wide spectrum of academic disciplines.