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From Migrants to Missionaries

Christians of African Origin in Germany


Benjamin Simon

The denominational plurality in continental Europe keeps growing. The churches of African origin are of increasing number. Seeking for a new identity in their new home, the concept of Diaspora and the question for legal issues get important for their identity. To what extent is their identity determined rather by seclusion or openness? Are the churches missionizing amongst Germans and are there ecumenical relations? What are the characteristics of such a new identity? How does it develop? By analyzing three different types of churches of African origin in the German context, especially by examining their sermons, the author demonstrates how those churches develop in a missionary direction and how they can become ecumenical partners.


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Part 3 - Three African-Initiated Churches and their Message 58


58 Part 3 - Three African-Initiated Churches and their Message I. Eglise de Jésu-Christ sur la Terre par son Envoyé Spécial Simon Kimbangu 1. Review of the Development of Kimbanguism Simon Kimbangu, founder of the church, was born in September 1887 in Nkamba/Democratic Republic of Congo (previously Zaire). Since his mother died early, he was brought up by his aunt Kinzembo. She was a member of the Baptist mission station of Ngombe-Lutete. In 1915 he married Mwilu Marie in a church service. That day was also the day of his baptism. Mama Mwilu and Papa Simon2 had three sons: The oldest son, Charles Kisolokele, was born in 1914. Salomon Kiangani Dialungana followed in 1916, Joseph Diangienda Kuntima in 1918. It is reported that Kimbangu already heard voices and saw visions between 1914 and 1921; in these, Jesus called him to become a healer and was ordered to guide his people to the right path. In one of these visions, Jesus Christ said to him: "Simon Kimbangu, my people are faithless; I have chosen you to be my witness and to lead them to truth and salvation. Your mission will be difficult, but do not be afraid, for I will always be at your side."3 His reaction to the call strongly resembled Old Testamentarian calls such as we have seen with the prophets Jonah and Jeremiah. Kimbangu fled before the voice of Christ, but it always caught up with him. In 1921 he recognized the ne- cessity of...

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