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The Changing Face of ChristianityAfrica, the West, and the World$
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Lamin Sanneh and Joel A. Carpenter

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177282.001.0001

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The Role of Churches in the Peace Process in Africa:

The Role of Churches in the Peace Process in Africa:

The Case of Mozambique Compared

(p.97) 5 The Role of Churches in the Peace Process in Africa:
The Changing Face of Christianity

G. Jan van Butselaar

Oxford University Press

This chapter recounts the early development of Christianity in Mozambique as a Portuguese colony with a strong Roman Catholic influence. The Marxist Frelimo regime in newly independent Mozambique denounced Christianity as a colonial, antirevolutionary force, confiscated its institutions, and suppressed its practice. Yet the local churches continued to play a significant local role as civil war broke out and people came to them for help and shelter. Both Catholic and Protestant communities played roles in the peace negotiations, but the Catholics had the resources and the ties to the Renamo rebel forces to lend some diplomatic leverage. After the peace agreement, churches played a major role in bringing reconciliation to fractured communities. The chapter ends with brief comparisons to the conflicts in South Africa and Rwanda and concludes that while in each case Christian denominations and ecumenical groups had little effect on effecting justice, peace, and reconciliation, individual Christian leaders and local ministries played powerful roles.

Keywords:   civil war, Frelimo, Mozambique, peace negotiations, Protestant, reconciliation, Renamo, Roman Catholic, Rwanda, South Africa

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