African Greek Orthodox Church- Uganda
- This was the only most forward looking independent church in Uganda founded by Reuben Mukasa spartas, an Anglican educated at Buddo.
- Reacting against missionary double standards, he in 1929 announced the establishment of an orthodox church, “for all right thinking Africans who wished to be free in their own house, not always being taught of as boys”
- In 1932 spartas was ordained and in 1943, his church linked up with the African Orthodox Church in Kenya.
- In 1946, the church was accepted into communion with the Greek Orthodox patriarchate of Alexandria.
- In the 1940’s and 50’s Spartas and the church were much involved in the polities of Buganda nationalism.
- Spartas was influenced by the pan-Africanism of the Jamaican Marcus Garvey through the Magazine of Negro-world, which called for African independence.
- By 1970, followers numbered 210,000; spartas was consecrated Bishop on 17th December 1972, in Alexandria.
- On 22nd December, 1970 another Uganda, Theodros, Nankyama was consecrated Bishop in Cairo and designated Bishop of Tanzania.
Secessionist Independent Churches
- These are churches that broke away largely over doctrinal and leadership reasons.
- They have varied features including preservation of the doctrine and liturgy from which they separated.
- They are lead by both ordained and ordinary leader.
- They are deeply concerned with withdrawing from the world with its competition and evils.
- Major examples include the African Brother church, church of Christ in Africa, Legio Maria of Africa all in Kenya, and the Nomiya-luo church.
The Nomiyo-Luo Church 1914
- This was the first African independent church in East Africa, Kenya started by Johana Owalo, who was called by God to be a prophet.
- Owalo initially started as a catholic Seminarian before joining the CMS- mission from where he parted to form an own church.
- Male circumcision is practiced, and the five books of Moses in the Old Testament are followed strictly.
- Jesus is regarded as the greatest prophet the son of God.
- The church has had two prayer books, and has attempted to have them translated into other languages in order to attract non-Luo people into membership of the church.
The Church Of Christ in Africa
- This is another splinter church from the Anglican Church in Nyanza province Kenya.
- It is led by an Anglican Deacon Rev. Mathew Ajuoga, he in 1957, together with 16.000 followers left the Anglican church out of leadership disagreements.
- The other major issue was doctrinal, emphasizing, “salvation through the blood of Jesus”, and the “love of Jesus reaching out to all”.
- By 1972, it had 75,000 members and 120.000 followers in eight dioceses.
- It had a home craft training center, a commercial school, and a Bible school.
- The presiding Bishop was Ajuogo, then a widely traveled leader, known on the four continents.
The African Brother Hood Church
- The largest independent church in Kenya was founded by Simeoni Mulandi kaasya, a former officer in the salvation Army.
- It was largely a break away from the Africa in land church and the gospel furthering fellowship.
- Kaasya had been dreaming for four years of an independent African led church free from white domination.
- Having moved to Nairobi in 1942, he shared his dream with groups of kamba Christians and formed the inter-denominational Akamba Christian brother hood.
- The Aim was to unite Akamba Christians divided by denominationalism but in actual facts, its formation was the first step to the founding of the new church.
- On 8th April 1945, at Karioker market, the church was founded and dominated by the Akamba.
- The main issue was leadership. Kaasya hated the system of white domination in the mission churches.
- Where as he did not envisage a racial church, his focus was on an African led church.
- Successful in his undertaking, adherent of the church numbered 65.000 by 1972.
- The church allows baptism of polygamists, but is not allowed in position of leadership.
- Members are also not allowed to taking on a second wife after joining the church.
The Holy-Spirit Independent Churches
- These emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit, and in many cases, the ministry of inspiration and healing.
- Examples are the chosen church of Kenya the Holy Spirit church of East Africa, and the African Israel church Nineveh.
The African Israel Church Nineveh
Its first leader was the founder David Zakayo kivuli, who received an experience of the holy spirit in 1932, when he began preaching.
- He was born of polygamous parents in 1896 attended school becoming fluent not only in his native logoli but also Nandi, Luo and later Kiswahili.
- In Jan 1942 he founded his church then called “Huru salvation Nineveh”, a breakaway from the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada mission.
- Later the church adopted its present name, and Kivuli continued as the church’s highest priest.
- Its head quarters were at Nineveh, 17 miles north of Kisumu with 03 priests devoted to prayers for the sick.
- Spreading to the other parts of Kenya its holy day of the week is Friday.
- By 1972 its members were 240,000 with up to the 700,000 adherents, some in Uganda and Tanzania.
- In 1970, the church was accepted as a probationary member of the National Christian council of Kenya.
- The church at Nineveh is called the “Ark” with a fish pond and over 350 coffee trees, which provide in come to the church.
General Characteristics of Independent Churches
- Independent churches have a sense of closeness to the spiritual world, emphasizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit through visions and dreams.
- Practice emotional worship, can pray loud on top of their voices, so low and deep in their hearts, including crying.
- They emphasized African forms of Christian expression in music, dance, movement, prayers etc.
- They believed in the unity of the soul and the body, emphasizing faith healing.
- They tend to relate Christianity to African forms of cultural initiation hence circumcision.
- Independent churches greatly respected African traditional family institution and structures and called upon their followers to practice polygamy.
- Many of them believe and practice adult hood baptism by immersion.
- Their leaders were not well educated hence the saying that it was a movement of common people.
- Most of these churches emphasized the teachings of the Old Testament especially the Nomiya-Luo church.
- They hard deep concern and respect for women position in the church and they allowed them to play an active roles in church affairs, compared the situation in mission churches.
- Their worship was more lively and enjoyable with lively musical and emotional teachings quite different to the some what dull situation in mission churches.
- Most of them tried to oppose anything foreign like western medicine, education, languages, hence a true African church.
- They were not strict on a membership as they could baptize any person even if he had not attended the catechism lessons.
- They emphasized high moral conduct among their follower and they were against the missionary quarrelsome ways of life.
- They had a certain degree of social concern for one another basing on the African spirit of socialism.
- Many of them were built on personality basis, i.e. their founders were at the same time their first leaders until they died e.g. Bamalaki church in 1929.
- They emphasized the belief in Jesus as a son of God especially the secessionist’s churches
- They were started by Africans by Africans after breaking away from the main stream churches.
- They were colonial provided churches there4 they had a lot of aspects concerning Nationalism
- They emphasized and encouraged some African initiation practices among their members especially circumcision and dictoridectomy.
- They were headed by African leaders hence being true African churches.
1. Discuss the characteristics of the splinter churches in Africa.