Original Research

Rooted in Christ, grounded in neighbourhoods – A theology of place

Cornelius J.P. Niemandt
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1997 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1997 | © 2019 Cornelius J. Niemandt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 March 2019 | Published: 03 October 2019

About the author(s)

Cornelius J.P. Niemandt, Department of Religion Studies, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This research underscored the importance of developing a theology of place in the midst of a global sense of rootlessness, dislocation and displacement. This is significant because of the unfortunate lack of attention to theologies of place in Christian literature. It illustrated the possible rich contribution of mission theology to assist in developing a vision of place because of the emphasis on incarnation, contextualisation and inculturation in this theological discipline. This is enhanced by the important reflection on faithful presence and the restoration of the commons in missional ecclesiology. The research used literature study to develop the groundwork for a theology of place and to propose possible contours of a missiological engagement with a theology of place. This resulted in research that found that reality and contextuality demands a theology of place, which can be defined as an appreciation for the theological significance of specific geographic locations. The research developed the following contours of a theology of place, and introduced some ideas on each of these storied places, beautiful places, ugly places, holy and sacred places, places of exile and discomfort, places of healing and restoration, and quiet places. The research opened up a theological discourse on place and the implications of a theology of place for missional ecclesiology.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This research challenges the relative lack of theological engagement with a theology of place and proposes an approach grounded in missional ecclesiology with its emphasis on incarnation to develop contours for a theology of place.


beautiful places; commons; dislocation; faithful presence; holy places; incarnation; missional ecclesiology; places of exile; places of healing; places of reflection; theology of place; storied places; ugly places


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