Nigerian family ecosystems perspective as framework for religious education and pastoral ministry in the Niger Delta region

Anthony Mario Ozele, Fordham University


This dissertation studies Nigerian Family Ecosystems Perspective as Framework for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry in the Niger Delta. It is concerned with the pragmatic exigencies of living in the region that has been ecologically decimated and economically impoverished and the inability of the Catholic church to fashion indigenized pastoral ministry forms inspired by contextualized religious education to engage the emerging social-cultural atmosphere. The exploitation of the regional ecological environment by prospecting multinational oil companies and government of the Federation has precipitated severe psycho-social suffering, damage and hardship. The church is not insulated from this environment. The need to incarnate the kingdom of God inculturated to the society necessitates a rethinking of the church's educational curriculum and ministerial forms. The Nigerian family ecosystems perspective is employed in response to the metaphor of church-as-family which emerged from the African Synod of 1994, to capture the essence of interrelatedness, interdependence and solidarity within the faith community and offer same as an overarching framework for the re-visioning of religious education and the en-visioning of pastoral ministry forms that creatively confronts the entire cosmic environment and mediate abundant life. This study primarily utilizes the philosophical method of enquiry in both the raising of questions, and critical analysis to engage the issues involved. This is complemented by the historical methodology which provides the contextual data and theological methodology which organize the data through the prism of biblical and educational scholarship for practical knowledge. The necessity to creatively engage the social and cultural dynamics of living in the Niger Delta impels this study to propose contextualized religious education as foundational to the development of pastoral ministry forms that affirm eco-spirituality and eco-justice. This paradigm will incorporate the stories and experiences of the Niger Delta and its peoples in the education curriculum. When this is done, the church's network of pastoral ministry forms will become a mosaic of "being-with-people" and "being-for-people" in their concrete life and environmental situations, daily incarnating the reign of God.

Subject Area

Religious education|Religion

Recommended Citation

Ozele, Anthony Mario, "Nigerian family ecosystems perspective as framework for religious education and pastoral ministry in the Niger Delta region" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3221896.