Africa

Afrique

All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)
The All Africa Conference of Churches is a fellowship of churches and institutions working together in their common witness to the Gospel by: Mobilizing to faithfully live the message of God’s love; Nurturing a common understanding of the faith; Interpreting and responding to challenges to human dignity; and Acting prophetically in Word, Life and Service for healing.
Conférence des Églises de toute l'Afrique (CETA)
The All Africa Conference of Churches is a fellowship of churches and institutions working together in their common witness to the Gospel by: Mobilizing to faithfully live the message of God’s love; Nurturing a common understanding of the faith; Interpreting and responding to challenges to human dignity; and Acting prophetically in Word, Life and Service for healing.
Makeni Ecumenical Centre, Zambia
"Makeni Centre is a Christian serving agency, registered as a non-profit making institution, situated about ten kilometres from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. The campus is fifteen acres in size, in the suburb of Makeni. Agricultural settlement villages at Kafue, Mwembeshi, Kalwelwe, Chisamba and Mwomboshi, totalling 6045 acres, have enabled settlement of hundreds of families. The Centre provides primary, secondary and adult education courses in a variety of vocational subjects, as well as clinics, family planning services, and an AIDS orphan village."
National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)
The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) is a family of Christian communions and organisations in fellowship and witness. It was established in June 1913 during the United Missionary Conference held at Thogoto, near Nairobi. The delegates in the conference, representing the missionary institutions working in the country at the time, affirmed their wish to work towards a united church that would impact the lives of the people. This dream remains true and is reflected in the Vision and Mission statements of the Council, which read:

VISION: One Church; United in Faith and Mission Witnessing to Jesus Christ and Transforming Lives

MISSION: To transform lives through ecumenism, capacity building, advocacy and service delivery

CORE VALUES: In all its work, the NCCK is informed by its core values, which are: Integrity, through accountability and transparency; Stewardship, through sound resource management; Professionalism, through competence and efficiency; Partnership, by collaborating with others; and Servanthood, through fair and humble service.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the Council are: i) To promote and facilitate fellowship, partnership and unity within the membership; ii) To promote consultations and joint action by the membership in all matters that bear upon our faith and witness, whether doctrinal, liturgical or missiological; iii) To build the capacities of the membership to enable them undertake their mission; iv) To facilitate the membership so that they can give expression to the Lordship of Christ over all aspects of human life and together with their communities identify needs, acquire necessary resources and promote services that is holistic, relevant and self sustaining; v) To promote the Council's corporate health, identity and growth for faithful and effective stewardship of the corporate vision, mission, heritage and sustainability.
South African Council of Churches (SACC)
We are the facilitating body for a wide fellowship of churches committed to expressing together, through proclamation and programmes, the united witness of the church in South Africa, especially in matters of national debate and order. The Council is the national ecumenical enabler and co-ordinator of inter-church debate and action. We are well known for the part we played in the struggle against apartheid, the globally- condemned oppressive policy of our former Government. We are now engaged in assisting the reconstruction of the nation and the development of South Africa's fragile new democracy. These pages are dedicated to sharing information about that work together with statements and comments from our leadership, as well as to respond to any queries you may have of us. Through its membership of 24 churches together with one observer-member and associated para-church organisations, the SACC represents the majority of Christians in South Africa. The national office is located at Khotso House in Johannesburg. There are also nine Provincial Councils of Churches working in close contact with us and for the same aims. They are governed by representatives of the Provincial churches as we are governed by our national member-churches.

The South African Council of Churches was founded in May 1968, during one of the darkest periods of South Africa’s history. At the time, the National Party had been in government for 20 years and its policy of apartheid was severely restricting the rights, associations and movements of the majority of South Africans.

Until the establishment of the SACC, South Africa’s churches had generally made little effort to stand together against the injustices of the apartheid regime. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission noted, “Some of the major Christian churches gave their blessing to the system of apartheid. And many of its early proponents prided themselves in being Christians. Indeed, the system of apartheid was regarded as stemming from the mission of the church.”

Naturally, there were a few notable exceptions to this rule. For instance, in 1949 at an ecumenical conference, Chief Albert Luthuli called for a franchise vote; in 1960, in response to the Sharpeville massacre, the World Council of Churches convened the Cottesloe Consultation in Johannesburg where it challenged its South African member churches to adopt a united stance against apartheid; and in 1963, Beyers Naudé founded the Christian Institute, an ecumenical organisation with the aim of fostering reconciliation through interracial dialogue.
Southern African Conference of Catholic Bishops (SACCB)
"The Conference is an association of local Ordinaries of the Roman Catholic Church in the Republic of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, their co-adjutors, auxiliaries and other titular bishops who perform special work entrusted to them by the Apostolic See, or by the Conference itself." Ecumenical relations are undertaken by the conference and by the individual dioceses. The conference has been actively involved in ecumenical work and has published an ecumenical directory for Southern Africa.

The history of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa begins with the arrival of Bartholomew Diaz at Walvis Bay on 8th December 1487. He appropriately called it the gulf of Santa Maria de Conceicao. The first Mass, celebrated perhaps in late December 1487 or early January 1488, was celebrated on the island of the Holy Cross (named as such by Diaz), just off Port Elizabeth. 10 years later Vasco da Gama, on his way to India, would, on Christmas day, sight the land to which he gave the name “Tierra de Natal”. These explorers also brought missionaries with them, but the priests did not concentrate on evangelizing South Africa. Indeed, there is no evidence of any missionary work during these early days.

Between 1652 and 1795, under the Dutch East India Company rule, Catholicism was forbidden in South Africa. Only occasional visits of priests travelling on Portuguese or French boats were allowed. The same attitude prevailed between 1795 and 1802 under the British rule. In 1804, the Dutch government opted for religious toleration, but two years later, the British rule forbid again the presence of the priests and lost no time in expelling them. In 1818, Pope Pius VII appointed the Benedictine Dom Edward Bede Slater as the first Vicar Apostolic of the Cape. But he never set foot on South African soil as the Government in London forbade him to go there, so he went to Mauritius where he was the first Vicar Apostolic there also. Likewise his successor, Dom William Placid Morris resided too in Mauritius, never putting foot on South African soil. But with the appointment of Bishop Raymond Griffith, Dominican, as third Vicar Apostolic of the Cape and first bishop of South Africa in 1837, the history of the Catholic Church as a visible institution begins.

In 1925, the first South African born bishop, David O’Leary, was consecrated in Johannesburg. But the South African Church still relied heavily on expatriate clergy. It was only in 1948 that a national seminary (for whites) was founded. In 1951, when Pope Pius XII established the hierarchy in southern Africa, not more than five out of twenty one bishops were born locally. The first four African priests had been ordained at the turn of the century, but it was only in the 1920’s in the diocese of Mariannhill, that the first concerted efforts were made to train a black clergy. This led to the establishment of a national seminary for blacks in 1947.

Despite its late coming on the missionary scene, the Southern African Catholic Church has shown remarkable signs of growth throughout the 20th century. Long seen as a foreign church, it has now gained influence in all sectors of society. At least 8% of the South African population is Catholic, putting it up to the second biggest church in the country after the Dutch Reformed Church. About 80% of its members are black.

Like most Christian Churches, the Catholic Church was relatively slow in opposing apartheid. It laboured at the cost of the heritage of segregation that it had shared with the rest of the Church in most pre-liberation colonial situations.

During the first decades of Nationalist rule, the hierarchy often adopted a conciliatory stance towards the government in the hope of maintaining the Church’s network of schools, hospitals and welfare institutions. When in 1953 the government struck at church schools for African children with its Bantu education Act, the Catholic Church fought desperately to retain the educational system seen as its major aid to evangelization. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, created in 1947, made its first pronouncement against racism in 1952 and in 1957 condemned apartheid as “intrinsically evil”. Until the late 1970’s however, there were few acts of defiance against the state. Within the Church itself, a de facto discrimination was practiced at many levels.

In 1970’s, under the influence of the Vatican Council and spurred by protests from black clergy, catholic opposition to apartheid started to intensify. In 1972 a move began to desegregate the seminary. In 1976 the decision was taken with regard to both seminaries and schools. The Soweto uprising of 1976 led to a still greater awareness among Catholics for more active Catholic participation in various manifestations of Christian protest, activated mainly by the South African Council of Churches and the Christian Institute. Since February 1990, priority is given to conflict resolution, education to democracy and development.