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African Led Christianity in Europe PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 09:26
The July Lausanne World Pulse is out again and, as usual, is very stimulating. The topic this month is the new missionary movement from the Global south, especially Africa.

From an article by Dr. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu of Ghana.

Here are some snippets:

Today, some of the largest congregations in Europe—Western and Eastern—are either founded by Africans or are led by people of African descent. Discussions on African immigrant Christianity usually focus on churches whose memberships tend to be constituted by Africans or people of that descent. A good example is the Kingsway International Christian Center (KICC) in London, led by the charismatic Nigerian pastor, Matthew Ashimolowo.

My research has taken me to the doors of another type of African-led church whose membership is entirely European. This means the designation of these churches in the diaspora as “African churches” is no longer tenable. For example, Sunday Adelaja’s Church of the Blessed Embassy of the Kingdom of God for all Nations is based in Kiev, Ukraine. Founded some fourteen years ago, it has a membership of approximately twenty-five thousand adults.

African members of mainline denominations in their home countries initially joined similar denominations in Europe, particularly in the UK and Germany. With time, many have pulled out of these communions and throughout Europe today, one encounters Ghana Methodist, Nigeria Anglican, or Ghana Roman Catholic churches operating under the pastoral leadership of their own kind often posted from the home countries. The meaning of this development is that Methodism, Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, and Presbyterianism have all, in African hands, acquired new ecclesial identities, liturgical structures and styles of worship that differ markedly from those inherited from nineteenth-century missionary endeavors.

To quote Jehu Hanciles:

In Western Europe, the rise of African immigrant churches and other non-Western Christian congregations has been dramatically visible because of the stark contrast between the dynamism of new immigrant Christian groups and the often moribund tone of the traditional churches.5

Painful experiences notwithstanding therefore, African Christians and African-led churches in Europe interpret their presence in terms of a call to mission and evangelism. In his book, The Go-Between God: The Holy Spirit and Christian Mission, John V. Taylor defines mission as “recognizing what the Creator-Redeemer is doing in his world and doing it with him."10 I have often revised this definition to read, “knowing what the Creator-Redeemer is doing in the world and allowing him to engage you in the enterprise.”

And there is much more. Read the whole article. The subject of African led Catholic parishes in Europe is fascinating.

Any readers have knowledge or experience of an African led parish in Europe?
 

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