Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae]]> vol. 46 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Decolonial Discourse on the Origins of the 20th Century American Pentecostal Movement</b>]]> Many church historians have done research on the foundation of the 20th century American Pentecostal Movement. However, these church historians have not used a decolonial discourse. This article is a decolonial discourse on the origins of the 20th century American Pentecostal Movement. The article assesses four prospects regarding the originator of the movement in order to conclude who can be observed as the true originator of the movement. The first likelihood discards a human contribution and only admits God or the supernatural as founder of the movement. The second likelihood is that the founder of the movement is Charles Parham. The third likelihood is that both Charles Parham and William Seymour are the originators of the movement, in what is termed an interracial theory. Finally, there is also the likelihood that the founder was an African-American, namely William Seymour. After the discussion of all four possibilities, this article concludes that William Seymour is the true originator of the 20th century American Pentecostal Movement. The purpose of the article is to demonstrate through a decolonial discourse the African-American origins of the 20th century American Pentecostal Movement and the implications thereof. <![CDATA[<b>"To Serve and not to be Served": The Mission of the Catholic Church through Education in Zambian Church History: A Narrative of James Spaita in the Public Sphere, 1960-2014</b>]]> This article revisits Zambian church history in order to show the interconnectedness of the mission of the Catholic Church through education and individual narratives of the clergy in the public sphere. This is done through the example of James Spaita. Informed by an interpretative phenomenological study that drew on interviews and content analysis, and in conversation with the Catholic Social Teachings (CST), the article advances that the contributions of James Spaita to church history were largely through education, advocacy and social justice-as shaped by his positionality as an indigenous priest, educator and church leader, and therefore a product of the Catholic Church's context. Spaita's narrative also signifies the growing public role and the mission of the Catholic Church in post-independence Zambia, as underpinned by social teachings of the Catholic Church. While discourses of Catholic Church history in Zambia were preoccupied with historicising missionary work and Catholic education (as part of the mission of the church) at the structural level, the article argues that the mission of the Catholic Church through education was also largely shaped by trajectories of the clergy in postcolonial and modern times. <![CDATA[<b>Woza Albert! Performing Christ in Apartheid South Africa</b>]]> This article investigates the important South African anti-apartheid protest play, Woza Albert!, written and performed in 1981 by Percy Mtwa and Mbogeni Ngema, which retells the story of Jesus Christ so that it takes place in apartheid South Africa. The article begins with a historical overview of how the play came into being, followed by an exposition of the play's script, specifically focusing on the way it reimagines the gospels' account of Christ's life, death and resurrection. The article finally engages theologically with the play (with the help of Hans Urs von Balthasar's theological dramatic theory), in an attempt to see why Woza Albert! has proved to be such an effective literary tool in speaking out and protesting against the injustices of the apartheid state. <![CDATA[<b>From Cabazi to Bruma: Purity Malinga's Rise to Presiding Bishop of the MCSA</b>]]> This article is an appraisal of Presiding Bishop Purity Malinga's journey from her rural upbringing in Cabazi, Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal to the helm of Methodism in Bruma Lake in Johannesburg, headquarters of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA). The path of Purity Malinga to Presiding Bishop of the biggest mainline denomination in Southern Africa is explored from a perspective that her nomination breaks the 212-year-old glass ceiling that limited women's rise into leadership in the MCSA. The aim of the paper is to present facts about the life, qualities and achievements that enabled her ascendance to the leadership of the MCSA. The major conclusions of the study indicate that her rise to the echelons of the church was because of a combination of factors, namely her leadership capabilities, theological acumen, progressive nurture of Methodism and the crisis caused by a leaked conversation between Rev. Vukile Mehana and Raymond Sibanga on December 28, 2018. <![CDATA[<b>Religious Artefacts, Practices and Symbols in the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi Church in Zimbabwe: Interpreting the Visual Narratives</b>]]> This study was carried out at a time when most African Indigenous Churches (AICs) in southern Africa were busy rebranding their spirituality and theology. This rebranding was as a result of serious competition in an environment where a new church was emerging every day. Thus, we argue that, due to this religious contestation, the Johane Masowe Chishanu yeNyenyedzi (JMCN) Church has inculcated/borrowed certain religious artefacts, symbols and practices which had never been part of African Christianity in Africa. As a result, this religious movement has inculcated certain African/Islamic religious objects of faith in a bid to demonstrate inclusivism and religious tolerance. In this paper, we discuss the JMCN Church's religious artefacts, symbols and practices such as clay pots (mbiya), big clay pots (makate), the wooden staff, decorated religious flags, congregating on Fridays and the use of crescent and star as its religious symbols. Artefacts, symbols and practices are borrowed from both African Traditional Religions (ATRs) and Islam. However, what remains critical in this study, is whether the JMCN Church, after its inculcation of such African traditional religious and Islamic religious elements of faith retains the tag, "a Christian church," in the rightful sense of the traditional taxonomy of the term, "Christian church," even though the movement itself claims to be a Christian church in Zimbabwe. <![CDATA[<b>From Scandinavian Missionary Activity to an African local Church: A History of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (1955 to 2018)</b>]]> This article reconstructs the history of a Pentecostal denomination in Kenya that was established by Scandinavian missionaries from two missionary agencies, namely the Norwegian Pentecostal Mission (NPM) and Swedish Free Mission (SFM), during the early 1950s. It relies on oral narratives by early African clerics, missionaries and church leaders as well as archival materials such as minutes, correspondence and reports to argue that the 60-year history of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK) may be periodised into three major epochs: the period of beginnings (1955-1984); the period of collaboration (1984-1996); and the period of nationalisation (1997-2018). It further contests that the present challenges for the church, such as the schism between Swedish and Norwegian sections, financial instability and the collapse of its national institutions, as well as an over emphasis on rural evangelism and a failure to penetrate the Kenyan urban life, are directly linked to its Scandinavian heritage. <![CDATA[<b>If the Colour of Jesus Is not an Issue, why Are you so Incensed at the Suggestion that Jesus Is Black?</b>]]> Questions around the colour of Jesus are always received with reservations. Yet, not much is said about the colour of the very same Jesus that has come to adorn homes and places of worship of many black Christians across the globe. This article engages in a conversation about the colour of Jesus. It does this while being aware of the challenges that appear to be particular to black communities who seem to expect their salvation from those who do not look like them. The colour of Jesus has been a central issue for Black Theology of Liberation. This is because this theological hermeneutic was never able to relate to a god that was not sympathetic to their lived experiences. <![CDATA[<b>Experiencing the Sacred</b>]]> The primary concern of this research is to investigate sacred places utilised for moments of silence by Shona people when they seek mystical experience with their ancestors. Emphasis will be placed on the traditional wisdom of mysticism. It is no exaggeration that knowing and appreciating the beauty of nature (aesthetics) can draw one closer to God. Essentially, the aspect of silence is the involvement of God in people's daily lives. In this presentation, we seek to analyse mystical experiences among the Shona. The fundamental cultural changes in Shona society are forcing us to consider the position of sacred places and moments of communion with ancestors. These are the privileges of studying cultural dynamics. <![CDATA[<b>Controversial Contradictions in Testimonies about Manche Masemola: The Challenge of Variability in Oral History</b>]]> This paper argues that although efforts have been made to construct Manche Masemola's martyrdom to enforce and consolidate the church's religious gains in Sekhukhuneland, her story represents a complex relation of voices that (un)wittingly contradict each other. The voices range from primary to secondary sources that continue to tell Manche Masemola's story, especially on the internet. The narrative of her martyrdom is riddled with contradictions and conflicting oral evidence. This paper explores these variations, which are a feature of oral tradition, and explains how such contradictions complicate the establishment of factual evidence based on oral history. Oral and secondary data were used, as well as available documentary materials published on various websites, to explain how these contradictions have been employed to create a religious martyr in the person of Manche Masemola. The available narratives were subjected to textual analysis, borrowing from folklore and poststructuralist literary theoretical approaches to understand the controversies embedded therein.