Last week, MCSCI hosted one of several seminar days currently planned across the UK titled “Joining the Family“. The seminar days were prompted by the discussions of a nationwide group of around 40 people. The initial group, both Christian Believers of a Muslim Background (BMBs) and members of the churches they joined, fleshed out the issues in Birmingham last May (2013). They covered both concerns around knowing how to help new BMBs, and also how to answer questions from Muslims.
This time, about the same number of people based around Greater Manchester, met to share the knowledge gained – not just in that initial discussion, but also the everyday experience of people from churches across the city.
The aim is that the core “Joining the Family” group will produce resources including a teaching course for churches to both understand the issues and to be equipped to help new disciples of Christ.
Here are some of the findings from the day:
Implications for new BMBs range from a new ‘voice’ – especially for women, to a loss of honour & community persecution. There may be confusion over what is Christian rather than Western, in areas such as how genders relate to each other. Despite a passion to learn, there may be issues to deal with including lies or misleading information BMBs have previously heard about Christianity.
The group drew up various ideas of what the Church could and should do to support BMBs, both internal (respecting and knowing our own scriptures) and external (encouraging BMBs to continue their own culture rather than becoming fully Westernised, learning the power of an honour/shame culture).