Third Pan-African Meeting on Networking Small Christian Communities to Consider Case Studies Research
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 24 October 2016
The Missio-sponsored third Pan-African meeting aimed at creating a network of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Africa and beyond might consider conducting case studies research at its ongoing meeting.
Michael Meyer of Mission who expressed this possibility of studies on the real-life situation of SCCs in Africa in an interview with CANAA on Monday said the initiative would begin with a couple dozen countries where this new way of being Church is lived.
Meyer is part of the third Pan-African meeting on SCCs, which was rescheduled at the last minute at the Spiritan’s Des Places House in Nairobi after plans to gather in DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa did not materialize.
“I would propose research on Small Christian Communities on the (African) continent starting with the countries where this reality exists, for example some English-speaking and Francophone Africa,” Meyer told CANAA Monday at the venue of the meeting.
He was responding to the question about the possibility of conducting a research on the total number of SCCs on the continent, which had been expressed by Father Joseph Healey of the Maryknoll Society during the Monday morning session.
Father Healey whose book on SCCs in Eastern Africa received the 2015 bestseller award at the Annual International Writers’ Conference of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) shared with the workshop participants about the situation of SCCs within the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region during the Monday morning session.
A member of St. Kizito SCC under St. Austin’s Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese, Father Healey described SCC as new way of being Church, emphasizing on the leadership of the laity and clergy as participants.
He clarified that the reality of SCCs is not a movement in the Church but rather “the Church on the move,” and reported the existence of 180,000 SCCs within the nine countries that constitute AMECEA.
During the same Monday session, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bukoba diocese in Tanzania, Bishop Methodius Kilaini recalled the spirit behind the genesis of SCCs in his country as having been to promote a “new way of being clan in Africa” where all the Christian rites of passage would be conducted, from birth to Sacraments of initiation to subsequent Sacraments to the funeral rites at death.
Various countries and Bishops’ conferences represented at the meeting had a slot of 30minutes to share the realities of SCCs in their respective countries, among them Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Meyer of Missio told CANAA that more needed to be done to establish a working network of SCCs on the continent and clarified that networking is about relationships, which is gradually being realized through meetings.
The first meeting was hosted by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) at its headquarters in Ghana’s capital, Accra, in 2014 while the second took place in 2015 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Both meetings discussed the possibility of creating and hosting an interactive website, a forum that will make possible the networking of the different SCCs stakeholders in Africa and elsewhere.
A Facebook page on SCCs is available at https://www.facebook.com/www.smallchristiancommunities.org
A free online book reporting on SCCs in some countries of Africa is available at
The Nairobi meeting officially started on Saturday, October 22 with 14 participants in attendance and will conclude on Tuesday, October 25.