Info

the importance of making the laity 'teachers, farmers and master-craftsmen', if Africans were to be raised above subsistence level and enabled to develop their full human potential. Like Buxton, he argued both that the inculcation of industry was indispensable to civilisation and that true civilisation was impossible without Christian faith.13

The planting of an indigenous church

The objective of planting indigenous churches that wouldbe capable of sustaining their own life, growing their own pastoral ministry and initiating mission on their own account was shared by almost all missions in this period. Posterity has paid most attention to the statements of 'Three-Self' principles produced by Henry Venn and Rufus Anderson, but the fact that two mission strategists on either side of the Atlantic arrived independently at similar conclusions is less surprising if one regards them as seeking to elucidate the principles which would guarantee the achievement of a generally accepted goal. The conference on missions held at Liverpool in i860 (the second in an ecumenical series which began in New York in 1854 and culminated in Edinburgh in 1910) was unambiguous in its commitment to the planting of'native' churches that would be self-reliant, self-supporting and self-governing, and in its opposition to the persistent tendency of missionaries to retain control as the pastors of 'native' churches.

With appropriate ecclesiological nuances, these aims were shared by missions in the Catholic tradition. W G. Tozer and Edward Steere, pioneers of the Anglo-Catholic Universities' Mission to Central Africa (UMCA, 1858-9), were unequivocal in their insistence that the aim of the mission was to plant an independent African church, not one subject to European tutelage. Roman Catholic mission strategists echoed the refrain. Francois Libermann argued that missions must follow apostolic precedent, by basing 'ourselves from the very beginning on a stable organization indigenous to the soil which we want to cultivate. The formation of a native clergy . . . supplies the only means whereby the light of the Gospel can be widely diffused and the Church solidly established in the countries where we are called to work.'14 Similarly, the Italian priest Daniel Comboni founded the Verona Fathers in 1867 as the first step towards the fulfilment of a vision for 'the regeneration of Africa by Africa' through the creation of an African apostolate.

0 0

Post a comment