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5 - Reverse Mission or Asylum Christianity? A Nigerian Church in Europe

from Part One - Politics of Culture in Habitual Customs and Practices

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

Asonzeh Ukah
Affiliation:
University of Bayreuth, Germany
Toyin Falola
Affiliation:
University of Texas at Austin
Augustine Agwuele
Affiliation:
Texas State University, San Marcos
Debra L. Klein
Affiliation:
Gavilan College
Emmanuel M. Mbah
Affiliation:
City University of New York, College of Staten Island
Sarah Steinbock-Pratt
Affiliation:
University of Texas at Austin
Asonzeh Ukah
Affiliation:
Universit�t Bayreuth, Germany
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Summary

Introduction

The presence of African Christian churches in Europe is not a new phenomenon. However, in recent decades there has been an expansion of these churches that has coincided with the era and processes of globalization. These organizations have not only captured public (popular) imagination by their specific roles as ethnic minority congregations developed in response to the critical experiences of marginality, but they have also become the subject of news items due to their activities. This chapter examines the dynamics of expansion of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in the United Kingdom (RCCGUK). This church opened its first parish in Britain in 1981 but has multiplied in the United Kingdom to 181 parishes with a total membership of 45,377 as at the end of October 2004. What is responsible for this proliferation of congregations in a continent that has been characterized as “unresponsive to [a] revivalist message”? This chapter will provide a demographic profile of the RCCGUK, compare some of its salient features with the parent organization in Nigeria, and see how creative adaptation and innovation fuel expansion as well as strategies of mission growth in a foreign milieu.

In the last decades of the twentieth century, the presence of Christian religious organizations with roots in Africa became a common sight in many European cities.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2009

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