Congo, Democratic Republic - (Afrika)

Informationen über Congo, Democratic Republic

2344885 Quadratkilometer
Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 25%, Kimbanguist 9%, Muslim 2%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
Christen (%)
Protestanten (%)
Reformierte (%)

The recent history of the country begins with the discovery of the Congo area by H. M. Stanley (1841-1904) and the colonial domination which followed. Until June 30, 1960, the Congo was under Belgian domination. Decolonization threw the country into a deep crisis. The major events were the attempted secession of the Katanga, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, nationalist prime minister of Meth origin, the rebellion of the Neo-Lumumbists, and the victory of Mobutu Sese Seko (1965). Mobutu ruled the country for more than thirty years. In 1967 he founded the Mouvement Populaire de la Révolution (MPR). In 1971, as part of a program of Africanization(authenticité),he renamed the country Zaire. As resistance to his dictatorial regime mounted, he agreed to certain concessions but at the same time succeeded for a long time in maintaining power. When he was forced to abdicate in 1997, the country was politically and economically ruined. Through a military action Laurent Désiré Kabila took power and proclaimed himself president.
Evangelization began in 1878 through two British missions. They were followed by RCath missions. Soon, they also began courageously to denounce the atrocities perpetrated by the colonial regime against the Congolese population, especially the system of forced labor. The Belgian administration encouraged and systematically supported the implantation and the development of RCatholicism, especially through educational and social institutions. Until 1948 the official line followed by the administration was clearly anti-Prot. When ten years later the colonial regime ended, Catholicism was one of the dominant factors in the country.
Of particular religious significance is the Kimbanguist movement, which started after World War I. After a very short ministry in public the prophet Simon Kimbangu was arrested by the Belgian authorities and kept in prison until his death in 1954. The movement which he had initiated was forbidden but continued to grow in secret. When, toward the end of the colonial period, it was officially recognized, its adherents appeared in public and constituted themselves in a very short time as a church. Today, the Church of Jesus Christ by the Prophet Simon Kimbangu counts several million members.
At an early date the Prot missions affirmed their common ground and developed forms of ecumenical collaboration. The idea of a Church of Christ in the Congo (ECC) was launched. Established in 1924, the Prot Council of Congo (CPC) included 47 denominations. It was, together with the South African Council of Churches, the first attempt within the framework of the International Missionary Council (IMC) to coordinate structurally the work of missions. Prot missions were active in the medical and educational fields. There were two tendencies among Prot. While the smaller denominations were rather conservative, the larger churches tended to be more open to contemporary issues. The tension between these two groups led in 1958 to the withdrawal of the CPC from the IMC. Together with the Bapt and the Methodists the Presb churches were influ entialin the liberal camp and defended the idea of unity and collaboration within the CPC.
In 1970, under pressure from Mobutu and with the support of the World Council of Churches, those churches and mission agencies which were more open to the ecumenical movement and to new methods of mission work agreed to establish the Eglise du Christ au Congo, later called the Eglise du Christ au Zaire. Ref church leaders played an important role in realizing this union. The risks of the church being controlled by the Mobutist system were not immediately and sufficiently recognized. When the ambiguity of the situation became clearer, the same leaders began to criticize the authoritarian style of the ECZ leadership and, cautiously, also the political system.
In this context, in 1988, the Reformed Conference of Zaire (COREZA, now ARCK) was founded; it includes the following churches: the Community of the Disciples of Christ (CDC), the Evangelical Community in Congo (CEC), the Presbyterian Community in Occidental Kasai (CPKOC), the Presbyterian Community in Oriental Kasai (CPKOR), the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK), the Presbyterian Community in Congo (CPCA), the Reformed Community of Presb (CRP), the Prot Community of Shaba/Katanga (CPSHA). The ARCK did not wish to separate itself from the ECC but rather to strengthen its unity though maintaining a separate framework of communion and Ref witness within the Protestantism of the country. The ARCK militates for democracy and reconstruction of the country and seeks to promote interethnic relations. In 1997 its name was changed to Alliance Réformée du Congo-Kinshasa (ARCK).



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