A century ago, a period of stunning Christian growth began. Africa's independent churches claim John Chilembwe as a symbol of a new native Christianity, free from its paternalistic and missionary roots.
Over ten years ago Andrew Walls, the renowned historian and mission theologian, with whom I was studying at Princeton Theological Seminary, mentioned that one of his students had begun researching African immigrant churches in New York City. The student, according to Walls, was literally walking block by block in the city looking for these churches, of which very little was known at the time.
Standing on a dusty Nairobi roundabout amid exhaust fumes and blaring horns, several hundred young men raise their hands north to the unseen shrine of Kerinyaga, or Mount Kenya—the second-highest mountain in Africa and mythological birthplace of the Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest tribe.
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