Changing family patterns from rural to urban and living in the in-between: A public practical theological responsive ministerial approach in Africa
African people and their families find themselves in a situation of tension because of their transition from rural to urban life. This tension has created a third family type, namely emerging families. The emerging families are characterised by a sense of life being under a constant strain to meet individual needs and at the same time the expected needs of the extended family. In such a situation, an individual gets sandwiched in a space of confusion, trapped in an in-between space where one is unsure whether to stick to traditional rural values and norms amidst the challenges of the reality of inadequate financial resources to support extended family members. Thus, one’s life space in Africa should be considered as being in a state of shifting fluidity. The outcome is an emerging and negotiated family where new arrangements are developing. In response, pastoral care should take a public dimension. Pastoral care should develop an analytic framework as well as a public practical theological ministerial approach that responds to these changing family patterns. It is proposed that a responsive public pastoral care approach could perform three tasks: preventive, mitigatory and maintenance pastoral care.