Faith in Schools: Religion, Education, and American Evangelicals in East Africa

By Amy Stambach | Go to book overview

2 One Hundred Fifty Years of Mission Work

Sunday at Pathway Church

Vacant lots and 1950s-era burger shops line the major highway leading to Stinton Christian College.1 To the north of campus looms a billboard—“Got Faith? 1-800-PRAY”—and to the south runs a cement-block wall on which has been hand-painted “Jesus' neighborhood”—an advertisement for Pathway Church. In early March much of this mid-Texas town appears gravelly and dormant. The only people visible whether on weekdays or weekends are those few walking from car to home or back.

If the landscape is stark and empty, the faces and the voices of churchgoers at Pathway are not. I opened the door on a Sunday morning to a sweep of voices singing “We're Marching to Zion,” the words for which were projected on a screen above the stage. An electronically amplified vocal quartet of two men and two women stood at the front of the nearly full five-hundred-seat room. A church elder (male, like all elders in this nondenominational church) announced the names of people needing assistance this week. Another man then moved to center stage and offered what the church bulletin identified as the “Pastoral Prayer,” which included, on this particular morning—the day before the United States invaded Iraq—supplication for “service men far from home” and for God's help “in guiding the president.”

The theme of strength and forbearance continued in the reading of Romans 8:18–24, which, following on the Pastoral Prayer and in the context of events, resonated with the liberation of Iraq. Verses 20 and 21 read, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it [Saddam Hussein was on everyone's mind], in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Verse 23 brought this theme back to the first person: “We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Some congregants read silently from personal Bibles they had brought from home. A few whispered the Romans passage from memory. Two songs—“My Hope Is Built

-35-

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Faith in Schools: Religion, Education, and American Evangelicals in East Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • To Friends Here and There v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • 1: Introduction: Schools of Faith 1
  • Part I - Preparation in the United States 33
  • 2: One Hundred Fifty Years of Mission Work 35
  • 3: Using Anthropology for Christian Witness 65
  • Part II - Evangelism in East Africa 97
  • 4: Teaching English in Tanzania 99
  • 5: Planting Church Schools in Kenya 132
  • 6: School-Community Partnerships in Uganda 154
  • Part III - Implications 179
  • 7: A New Anthropological Ethnography of Religion and Education 181
  • Epilogue 193
  • Reference Matter 197
  • Notes 199
  • References 209
  • Index 225
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