By Adrian Hastings
The church buildings in Africa most likely represent an important development zone for Christianity within the moment half the 20 th century. From being a few relatively tightly managed 'mission fields' zealously guarded through the good missionary societies, Catholic and Protestant, they've got emerged around the final a long time in bewildering type to selfhood, a club of shut on 100 million adherents and an influential function either inside their very own societies and on this planet Church. This publication surveys the heritage of Christianity all through sub-Saharan Africa in the course of the 3rd area of this century. It starts in 1950 at a time whilst the church buildings have been nonetheless for the main half emphatically a part of the colonial order and it takes the tale on from there around the coming of political independence and the adjustments of the Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies.
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It was from Egypt and Syria that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded and fed, and it remained subject through the ages to the see of Alexandria from where it always received its Abuna or archbishop and to which it owed its creed, liturgy and monastic spirituality. Nevertheless its practical isolation for so many centuries and its social and cultural requirements, so different from those of the lower Nile Valley, permitted the development of a unique ecclesiological, liturgical and artistic tradition.
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For a while at least the African Methodist Episcopal Church with its black American origins proved a more congenial environment for worship. When in 1946 John Membe, its indefatigable Zambian propagator, wrote in simple explanation of this all-black church to a sympathetic District Commissioner 'We as Africans are trying to exercise the self-help and worship God under our own Vine Tree',39 he was asserting an at least potentially political position and only a few years later he would be enthusiastically preaching at meetings of the Northern Rhodesian Congress Party.
A History of African Christianity 1950-1975 by Adrian Hastings