This event will connect three international, church-related events into one major event in the Kingdom of Swaziland, 15-21 April 2019.
About Africans Claiming Africa for Christ
The fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 brought seismic shift in the Christian missionary enterprise and churches of Christ were not immune to this challenge. Western missionaries affiliated to the churches of Christ in east Africa decided to re-strategise their methodology because some of their colleagues were planning to leave Africa for the former communist bloc. These missionaries hosted an information sharing and planning meeting for both missionaries and indigenous African Christians. This birthed the first “African Claiming Africa” Conference which was held at Thuchi River Lodge, Embu, Kenya, from 1-10 April 1992. It was the first ever continental meeting of the churches of Christ in Africa that was attended by more than 200 men and women from sixteen countries. The major goal was to pass on the torch from Westerners to indigenous Africans.
After seven days of information sharing, discussions, preaching, singing and praising God, it was resolved that a meeting of such a nature be held every four years in a different African country. Since then the following countries have hosted ACAC: Zimbabwe 1997, South Africa, Nigeria 2008, Zambia 2010, and Senegal 2016. The next meeting will be taking place at Esibayeni Lodge, Manzini, Swaziland, from 18-20 April 2019. Delegates are expected to arrive on Sunday 17 April 2019. “United Through the Mystery of the Gospel” will be our theme and we are in the process of selecting speakers. Since we have close to twenty months, we are hoping our brothers and sisters will start saving towards attending this meetings. ACAC will be followed by the World Convention.
About World Convention
The World Convention (WC) is an umbrella body that serves churches affiliated with the Stone-Campbell (Restoration) Movement. These churches are the Churches of Christ—a cappella, Christian Church/Churches of Christ (4 Cs), and the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church). Since 1930, when the First World Convention was held in Washington D.C., these churches have always met regularly in different countries. For example, the third convention was held at Leicester, United Kingdom in 1935; Buffalo, New York in 1947, and Melbourne, Australia hosted the 1952 convention. The last Global Gathering was held in Damoh, Madyha Pradesh, central India, in January 2017.
The next Global Gathering will be held in Manzini, Swaziland, Africa, during Easter 2019. This will be the first time for the World Convention to be held in what was once dubbed “The Dark Continent” during the first WC meeting in 1930. Interestingly, missiologists and church planters are now forecasting that by 2050 Africa will have close to one billion Christians. Moreover, reverse missionary is now a reality; Africans in Diaspora and now reviving and opening struggling and dying churches in the First World. Some of these Diaspora Africans will be attending Swaziland, Manzini 2019 Global Gathering that will be combined with the Southern Africa International Lectureship under the theme “United Through the Mystery of the Gospel.”
About Southern Africa International Lectureship (SAIL)
The Southern Africa International Lectureship (SAIL) is an annual meeting of the Churches of Christ, a cappella, which began in 1969 in South Africa. The meeting is attended mainly by Christians from the following southern African countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. In the past fifty years, SAIL has been hosted in all the listed countries with the exception of Namibia. The Kingdom of Swaziland last hosted the meeting in 2007 and in 2019 it will have the rare privilege of hosting the fiftieth (50th), hence this meeting will also feature Golden Jubilee Celebration activities.
Since the 2019 meeting will be combined with the WC Christians from southern African countries will have the rare privilege of meeting with their brothers and sisters from the other branches of the Restoration Movement (Stone-Campbell). The Churches of Christ—a cappella, Christian Church/Churches of Christ (4 Cs), and the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) will be represented. We expect delegates from the following continents: Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), Europe, North and South America, South Asia, and Africa, the hosting continent. International speakers like Dr. Jerry Taylor, from Abilene Christian University, Texas, will be delivering some of the lessons. It will be a spiritual retreat forever etched on our hearts as speakers will be unpacking the theme “United Through the Mystery of the Gospel” derived from Ephesians 6:19. In order to cater for the spiritual aspirations of indigenous Africans, who will form the majority of delegates, the following is a partial list of some of the selected lessons that will be delivered:
- The Mystery of the Gospel and Witchcraft
- The Mystery of the Gospel and Ancestor Veneration,
- The Mystery of the Gospel and Magic (charms, fetishes, etc.)
- The Mystery of the Gospel and the Indigenous African World View
In addition to these topics, there will be lessons specifically for women, youth, and children under the Global Women Connect, Global Youth Fellowship, and children’s classes.
About the Coordinating Hosts
The three meetings: ACAC, SAIL, and WC, will be coordinated by African Christian College (ACC) and Swaziland Churches of Christ. ACC, formerly Manzini Bible School, is a Church of Christ affiliated, degree awarding institution in southern Africa which was established in 1967. It offers a three-year, full-time residential Bachelor of Theology Degree with three areas of specialization: Counselling, Organisational Leadership, and Ministry. In the past fifty years, ACC has graduated students from across Africa, including Burundi, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. ACC will be working closely with the Swaziland Churches of Christ in organising the events.