Missionaries

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In terms of deliberate missionary work, Great Britain today plays host to some 1500 missionaries from 50 nations. Many come from African countries, and these are shocked at the spiritual desert they encounter in this "green and pagan land." Often, too, missionaries have a sense of repaying obligations, in recalling the Europeans who originally converted their lands. Korean missionaries return to England in tribute to the land of John Wesley. Matthew Ashimolowo sees London as "a city which sent many missionaries out, and also a city where great pastors have been raised before: Charles Spurgeon and the Spurgeon Tabernacle, G. Campbell Morgan in Westminster Chapel; T. Kendal is still here, and some other great names." In the late nineteenth century, the strict Presbyterian Church of Wales sent missionaries to the people of Mizo-ram, in the northeast of India. The endeavor succeeded richly, and in 2006 the Mizo people began returning the favor, sending two missionaries to help reconvert Wales. In the words of one Mizo churchman, Wales suffered from "a perceived lack of relevance of Christianity to lives based on materialism."4

Some transnational Christian networks operate in literally dozens of nations, churches headquartered in one of the great missionary nations of the modern world, such as Brazil, Nigeria, the Congo, the Philippines, or South Korea. Particularly important are the AICs, the African-Initiated Churches, bodies of African foundation and worship style. In the early twentieth century, for instance, Nigeria produced the Aladura movement, with its emphasis on healing, prophecy, and charismatic worship. During the 1960s, London became the base for several Aladura churches, including the Celestial Church of Christ, Church of the Lord Aladura, the Cherubim and Seraphim, and Christ Apostolic Church. The Aladura tradition is powerfully represented by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), founded in 1952, and which has a strong missionary outreach. "At the last count, there are at least about four thousand parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria. ... In Europe the church is spread in England, Germany, and France." In addition to its African presence, the Congolese Kimbanguist church, Église de Jesus Christ sur la Terre par son Envoyé Spécial Simon Kimbangu, is active in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and England. Brazilian congregations, such as the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, are widespread. So are Philippine lay charismatic communities like the astonishing El Shaddai, which operates in some thirty countries, or the Brazilian IURD, the aptly titled Igreja Universal, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.5

Sometimes, movements from the global South benefit from alliances with new groups within Europe's older churches. David Pytches learned from the Chilean charismatic movement, and Filipino movements like Couples for Christ work closely with Europe's charismatic Catholics. Catholic charismatics also provide speaking venues for African priests, who bring to Europe the very different and more enthusiastic traditions of their own countries. One popular guest in

Britain is Ugandan Fr. Anthony Musaala, who among other achievements is a noted figure in Africa's Christian music scene.

Reinforcing the southernization of European Christianity is the changing character of the Catholic priesthood and the influx of global South clergy now found across western Europe, including in once solidly Catholic regions: the image of African priests ministering in Ireland is particularly memorable. One diocese in southern France is host to some thirty priests from former colonies such as Senegal, Gambia, and Ivory Coast, men who view their new home with a powerful evangelistic impulse. Some years ago, conservative writer Michel Gurfinkiel remarked on how immigrant clergy were being used to reverse the precipitous decline of France's Catholic clergy, and the process is still more advanced today:

Black African priests can be seen today throughout the country, even in rural areas of France; a black Zairian priest held mass for President Jacques Chirac in mid-1996. Female religious communities are, if anything, even more foreign: a substantial number of French nuns under thirty are of African or Asian origin.

As in the Protestant and charismatic churches, the faces of Christian leadership are now Nigerian, Vietnamese, and Filipino.6

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