Perspectives on Forced Migration and Transformational Community Development
Scripture testifies to God’s care for displaced peoples. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a narrative filled with migrants, with refugees, and with wayfarers. Even God himself is shown to be “on the move” – a God who does not stay on one side of the border but crosses over to save his people.
In The Wayfarer, Dr. Barnabé Anzuruni Msabah engages the global refugee crisis from an interdisciplinary perspective that encompasses both development studies and theological reflection. Using specific examples from Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa, Msabah provides an overview of the sociopolitical, economic, and environmental dynamics of forced migration, while simultaneously exploring theological and cultural frameworks for understanding transformational community development. He examines both the church’s calling to provide sanctuary for displaced peoples and the role of refugees in contributing to the socioeconomic welfare of their host countries. While the church’s mandate is to act with justice and mercy towards the world’s most vulnerable populations, Msabah also reminds us that refugees are not passive recipients but powerful examples of courage, resilience, and hope who can, in their turn, transform our nations and our faith communities for the better.
The imperative to read the times where an unprecedented number of people have been displaced around the globe, along with reading the sacred texts of Scripture and the witness of Jesus Christ, is urgent. Weaving in his personal journey, Dr. Barnabé Anzuruni Msabah lays the groundwork to grasp the breadth and depth of the global and African challenge of migration and refugees to move the body of Christ to action. Practical paths for engagement are provided for people of faith and faith-communities to embody the good news. This book issues a call to use our collective power of Ubuntu towards hope and transformation, while recognizing the God-given image and resource of the stranger in our midst.
Selena D. Headley
Community Development, Sociology & Theology Lecturer,
Institute for Urban Ministry, Cape Town, South Africa
Dr. Barnabé Anzuruni Msabah has provided the scholarly community and the church a rare opportunity in which to engage with the prophetic and righteous work of siding with and supporting those on the margins. In Matthew 25:31–46, Jesus is recorded as saying that what we do for “the least of these” we are doing for Christ’s very self. Dr. Anzuruni’s book outlines the means by which the church can respond to the critical needs of refugees. In doing so, this work makes a defiant claim for the radical nature of God’s identification with those on the margins. This book is a must read!
Professor Extraordinarious, University of South Africa
Director, Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture, University of Oxford, UK
Forced displacement is a defining issue of the twenty-first century. It is concerning this issue that Dr. Msabah speaks to the church at large. His life has been profoundly shaped by repeated forced displacement. He was born a refugee and later experienced the challenges of “returning” to a “homeland” that he had never seen. He was later internally displaced by war, separated from family, and uprooted across borders to once again become a refugee. He has reflected deeply concerning the experience of forced displacement and the mission of the church. He offers a clarion and passionate voice calling the church to holistic mission – to advocate for the dignity of all human beings and to serve as a catalyst for the integration of refugees into their host society.
Ambassador for Refugees, Displaced and Stateless People,
World Evangelical Alliance
Founder and President, International Association for Refugees, USA
Table of Contents
- The Immigrants’ Creed
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Forced Migration: Facts and Figures
- 3 Two Contexts, Four Constants
- 4 Transformational Community Development as Ubuntu in Action
- 5 Transformational Community Development as Hope in Action
- 6 Narratives of Hope
- 7 Principles of Transformational Community Development
- 8 Conclusion