Church and State in Tanzania: Aspects of Changing Relationships, 1961-1994

By Frieder Ludwig | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR

THE INFLUENCE OF THE MOVEMENT FOR INDEPEND-
ENCE ON DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN THE CHURCHES

4.1. Changes in Leadership: New Persons

Many churches in Tanganyika had gained experience in self-government long before independence. African members of the Lutheran Church had taken over leading positions when the German missionaries were interned during World War II. These positions were held by Africans only for a short time before they were again replaced (in the north for example by missionaries of the American AugustanaMission). But from the late 1940s onwards attempts were made to give Africans permanent positions of power. The independence movement had a decisive impact. Although it had been theoretically widely accepted in missionary circles that self-government was the aim and that the churches in Africa should be led by Africans, few concrete steps to transfer responsibility and power had been taken. Moreover, a condition for self-government had always been that the African churches should also be self-financing. But even in 1961 the Tanzanian churches were dependent on support from the motherand partner-churches.1

Nonetheless, the first signs of a process of detachment were emerging. This was due to the growing African self-confidence, but also to the recognition that African Christians were in a better position to represent the interests of Christians in the African states than European missionaries. Thus Stefano Moshi became first the Church President (1958) and then Bishop (1960) of the Lutheran Church of Northern Tanganyika. He was the first African Lutheran to attain these positions.2 Others were soon to follow: Josiah Kibira, who had been one of the leading personalities in the North-Western region since 1960, became Bishop of Bukoba in 19643; and, in the same year, Thomas Musa was elected President of the Central Synod; in

1 M. Wright, German Missions in Tanganyika, 1891–1941: Lutherans and Moravians in
the Southern Highlands
(Oxford, 1971), esp. Chapter 10 (“Tests of Church Autonomy”).

2 H. Becker, “Stefano R. Moshi – ein Leben fur the Kirche”, in: G. Mellinghoff/
J. Kiwovele, Lutherische Kirche Tanzania (Erlangen, 1990), pp. 1 1–15.

-43-

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