African Churches in the Rhein-Ruhr Region of Germany

Article excerpt

Roman Catholic and evangelical (Protestant) churches are the traditional and officially recognized churches in Germany. Other churches are classified generally as sects. One attempt to remove this prejudice and bias concerning African churches is being initiated by the Evangelical Church in the Rheinland through the United Evangelical Mission (Vereinigte Evangelische Mission, VEM). This report is more of an informative abstract or a summary, which hopefully is able to answer some basic questions about the African churches.

African churches in the Rhein-Ruhr area

There are many African churches spread around the rivers of the Rhein and Ruhr. These churches come from apostolic, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal (Assemblies of God) and charismatic traditions. Of course, most of them are Pentecostal churches. All of them, in accordance with German laws and regulations, fall into the category of "associations", not "churches". Many of them are small and have less than seventy active members.

Ecumenical contacts

The ecumenical contacts of African churches with the traditional churches (Catholic and evangelical) are very rare except for those African churches with a large membership. African congregations also do not actively seek contacts with other non-European Christian congregations, (e.g. Vietnamese, Sri Lankan). Between the francophone and anglophone African churches there are no strong ties.

I have tried, in the past, to find some existing associations that glued African congregations together but in vain. In the Rhein-Ruhr area there is one exception; it is the Association of Pentecostal Pastors. This association, I believe, has no francophone members and it has been difficult to discover who belongs.

More recently, I have seen a new development in the Evangelical Church in the Rheinland: There exists now a department linked to the VEM, which is headed by the Rev. Claudia Wahrisch-Oblau, that can help to bring African churches closer. …