Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae <p><strong>Open Access</strong></p> <p>Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae is the journal of the Church History Society of Southern Africa. It publishes articles in the discipline of Church History/History of Christianity with an African/South African perspective. The journal publishes three issues per year in May, September and December.</p> en-US (Prof Mokhele Madise) (Mohamed Zaheer Motala) Wed, 08 Nov 2023 09:19:27 +0000 OJS 60 Religion and Memory: The Importance of Monuments in Preserving Historical Identity, by J. Kirsch <ol start="2021"> <li>pp. 272 pages. No price was quoted. ISBN 978-3-515-13031-8</li> </ol> Graham Duncan Copyright (c) 2023 Graham Duncan Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Church Life amid Two Pandemics: Similarities and Differences between Covid-19 and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on Congregational Life in the Dutch Reformed Church, South Africa <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect congregational life in South Africa, and churches across the globe are still contemplating the impact of the (ongoing) pandemic, owing to experiences of pain, loss, and absence of direct interaction on the one side, and new possibilities linked to technology and innovative practices amid a global pandemic, on the other. Much has been written about similarities between this pandemic and other global pandemics, specifically on similarities and differences between the Covid-19 pandemic and the 1918 influenza pandemic. This comparison has also emerged in ecclesial studies and reflections. This article will reflect on similarities and differences between congregational life during the Covid-19 and the 1918 influenza pandemics in the context of South Africa. Specific mention will be made of necessitated congregational adjustments linked to practices and rituals during these pandemics in the context of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. In relation to both pandemics and periods, the official mouthpiece of the Dutch Reformed Church, <em>Kerkbode</em>, will be used as a primary source through which the similarities and differences between the mentioned pandemics will be discussed. Other church archival material and relevant church historical studies will be used to reflect on the 1918 period. Recent publications linked to this topic, as well as general congregational experience and reflections, will be used to explore the 2020 period. As such, this article makes use of various research methods, including archival research and textual and comparative analysis.</span></p> Leslie Van Rooi Copyright (c) 2023 Leslie Van Rooi Thu, 07 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The Use of Science and Technology Among Afro-Pentecostals: A Theo-Historical Perspective from the Kenyan Context <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">This research article sets out to explore the extent to which Afro-Pentecostalism, as an African Pentecostal movement, relies heavily on science and technology. It sets out on the premise that African Pentecostalism, as with the mainline churches (referring to the Roman Catholics, the Methodists, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, and the Reformed churches among others), has historically relied on science and technology since Kenya’s colonial era (1895-1963) to the present moment. The 21st century has however witnessed a scientific explosion in a manner akin to the effects of the industrial revolution of 18<sup>th</sup> century Europe—that eventually spread over to the rest of the world. Through a theo-historical design, this research article has methodologically sampled some key areas that demonstrate Afro-Pentecostals’ use of science and technology. Such samplings include the modern infrastructures that are by-products of the latter, industrially urbanised areas, televangelism, technological gadgets, biotechnology and environmental concerns among other areas. The findings in this research article are gathered through participant observation and an extensive review of relevant literature. Overall, it establishes that Afro-Pentecostals, like the mainline churches/missionaries, engage science and technology as a critical missiological tool, even though the former is largely mistaken with the New Religious Movements (NRMs)—whose wayward sections employ cultic and occultist trends that lead to religious dysfunctions, some of which shuns hospitals, schools and other forms of modern science and technology, and instead embrace mysticism.</span></p> Julius Gathogo Copyright (c) 2023 Julius Gathogo Tue, 19 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Adapting or Adopting Digitisation: The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) during Covid-19 Lockdown (2019 to 2022) <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">The Covid-19 pandemic became an eye-opener for the church to reconsider technology due to the lockdown and its impact on the church. From 2019, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic, the global church space and its functions were greatly affected. This forced the church to look at alternatives to ensure that it continued to maintain its sacred space as well as its offering of worship services to all Christian believers. The church needed to find new ground to perform its functions. Telephones, newspapers, radios, as well tape recorders have long been in existence and were already explored by the church, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, the main question was: How does the church enhance its own space, and how does it function in the new era of digital technology? The existence of social media meant that the church had to go digital and enhance its offerings of worship on other network systems rather than the traditional. The internet eased this movement by the church from the traditional way of doing things. This article will focus on how the church in South Africa began to embrace the digital world in enhancing its mission to the larger society, as 4IR was at the same time making inroads in public and private spaces. Popular social media platforms (such as Facebook, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Twitter, WhatsApp, and so forth) were providing much-needed alternatives at a critical point in history—the Covid-19 pandemic. These platforms became the alternative means to ensure that worship services continued, as well as other church gatherings such as synods, councils, retreats and conferences. The spread of Covid-19 afforded the church enough room, time and space to venture into expanding its mission digitally, thereby entering into the world of technology that was new to it.</span></p> Mokhele Madise Copyright (c) 2023 Mokhele Madise Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Roman Catholic Church and Cautious Embrace of Modern Communication Media <p>The Catholic Church has a complex history in its appropriation and use of modern means of communication. It has at various times sought to adapt and pushed back. Almost with equal measure, it has variously churned out instructions and guidelines and even condemnations on the heels of inventions and innovations that pushed the boundaries of traditional means of communication. For instance, the church transitioned from colourful medieval manuscripts to printed books with the invention of the printing press in the middle of the fifteenth century. Interestingly, whenever the church has been able to embrace any invention, it has almost always done so through the purviews of its mission of evangelisation. In contemporary times, <em>Inter </em><em>Mirifica </em>(promulgated on 4 December 1963 by the Second Vatican Council) and <em>Communio et progressio</em> (23 May 1971) are two documents that signalled the church’s preparedness to accept the reality and phenomenon of the new frontiers ushered in by contemporary means of communication. The objective of this article is firstly to make a historical excursus of the Catholic Church’s embrace of the means of communication, characterised by caution and wariness, eagerness and enthusiasm. Secondly, it apportions a space to the Catholic Church in some African countries. It also highlights the importance attached to means of communication, especially the radio apostolate, by the local churches in those places. It does so by situating the media consciousness among local church hierarchies on the continent within the injunction of Pope John Paul II in <em>Ecclesia in Africa</em>.</p> Valentine Ugochukwu Iheanacho Copyright (c) 2023 Valentine Ugochukwu Iheanacho Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The Trauma of Secularisation in Afrikaans Reformed Churches <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">On 18 July 2018, a column was published in a South African newspaper, <em>Beeld,</em> in which the authors present the results of interviews conducted with members of Afrikaans Reformed Churches in South Africa. The interviewees reported the trauma they had experienced with the church changing its symbols, which the interviewees experienced as “secularisation.” Where the church is regarded as a place congregants visit for support in times of uncertainty and anxiety, in this case it has become the source of trauma. Interviewees expressed trauma wherever the following occurred: 1) well-known liturgies, symbols, and songs are replaced with “worldly” ones; 2) electronic music replaces the organ; 3) the pulpit is removed; 4) the pastor becomes an entertainer; and 5) office bearers dress casually. This column was also published in affiliated Afrikaans newspapers <em>Die Burger</em> and <em>Volksblad</em>, which provoked massive reaction in letters to the newspapers. This article reports on the reaction from writers under the following headings: 1) feelings of discomfort and estrangement from the church; 2) feelings of lost holiness; 3) concerns that a sacred space has been violated; 4) anger because symbols as powerful expressions of faith connecting one to God, have been removed from the church; 5) ageing church-goers are being blamed for keeping the church from renewing; 6) accusations that liturgy pointing to the Word of God is being changed; 7) warnings that the church exists by virtue of being different from the world. The article concludes by situating the trauma presented by the letter writers in the tension between tradition and modernity, a tension that is reportedly experienced at present at high levels in Afrikaans Reformed Churches. </span></p> Christina Landman, Tanya Pieterse Copyright (c) 2023 Christina Landman, Tanya Pieterse Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Covid-19 Disruptions in the Catholic Diocese of Bethlehem in the Free State, South Africa <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">Since the beginning of Christianity, pulpit or church sermons have been the primary mode of delivering sermons. The last decade has seen huge progress in technological advancement in Africa. Several pastors have now empowered themselves with the use of technology in their ministry and in delivering sermons. In 2019, Covid-19 swept across the globe and caused worldwide panic. In South Africa, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported the first case of Covid-19 in March 2020. To contain the spread of the coronavirus, the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, announced a lockdown for 21 days and alert level 5 was imposed on South Africans. That compelled all South Africans to stay at home, and all faith-based gatherings were prohibited. Thus, preaching the Word of God in churches was prohibited. During the pandemic, online sermons or the streaming of church services online became a popular way of hearing Sunday sermons. This article discusses the historical use of technology, for example, radio and television, which were the tools employed to reach out further. We will explore the recent use of online sermons and electronic communion in churches, particularly in the Catholic Church. Statistics will be scrutinised to examine the effects of online sermons and faith practices (electronic communion). In achieving the goal of this article, the study utilised desk research and oral interviews through a narrative analysis of aspects mentioned by church leaders and congregants considered to relate directly to online sermons and electronic communion. The following will be points of discussion: methodology, with a brief discussion of data collection and analysis; the Covid-19 crisis; the impact of coronavirus and leadership; alternative methods employed by the Diocese of Bethlehem; challenges with online sermons; successes; electronic communion; recommendations; and conclusion.</span></p> Dikotsi William Mofokeng Copyright (c) 2023 Dikotsi William Mofokeng Fri, 13 Oct 2023 00:00:00 +0000 The Battle of the Airwaves: The Role of Radio in Mission and Colonialism/Apartheid <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">Defining technology according to Aristotle’s idea of “techne” refers to both a practical skill and the systematic knowledge or experience that underlies it. Technology can be described as a means to achieve specific objectives. This article will investigate the role of the radio during the missionary era and the accompanying colonial project. Firstly, the study will consider the genesis of radio broadcasting and its relation to the church and its mission. Furthermore, the study will focus on the ambiguous relationship between the radio during the colonial and apartheid periods in Southern Africa. The article presupposes that the World Council of Churches enabled the African National Congress to operate radio freedom through its Programme to Combat Racism and Special Fund. The article concludes with an overview of how radio served as a tool of social control during apartheid by briefly discussing the battle of the airwaves between Radio Republic South Africa and Radio Freedom.</span></p> Eugene Andre Fortein Copyright (c) 2023 Eugene Andre Fortein Thu, 27 Jul 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Challenges for Online Sermons and Online Communion during Covid-19 Pandemic: A Historical Perspective of Rural Congregations in the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe <p>This article aimed to investigate the challenges rural congregations face in the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe. The presentation employed literature review and documentary reviews such as church magazines because it is historical in nature. The findings showed that, unlike urban congregations who continued to benefit through digital gadgets to receive online sermons and online communion, rural congregations lag in all aspects involving digital sermons. Using face-to-face interviews and archival research, this paper proposes improved sermon dissemination packaging as key to the effective spread of the word in the face of difficulties in accessing technologically disseminated sermons in rural areas in Zimbabwe. Underpinned on the technological determinism theory, this paper unpacks technologically based preaching approaches that can be used to send sermons to all areas to improve Christian lives in rural areas in Zimbabwe. The study used a qualitative exploratory study designed to probe the perceptions and experiences of rural communities on issues about online sermon delivery communication. A qualitative research design enabled the researchers to interact with the study’s participants. Rural congregations in the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe faced several challenges. The most reported challenges were a lack of appreciation for using electronic gadgets to access platforms such as Zoom, Youtube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google Meet and a lack of data and network connectivity resources. It was recommended that the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe strive to make an effort to capacitate pastors in rural congregations and their congregations so that they are well equipped with user-friendly electronic gadgets even in remote areas. This helps the church to benefit and continue to be enlightened with the word of God and communion even during the advent of pandemics such as COVID-19.</p> Ezekiel Baloyi, Nyasha Mapuwei Copyright (c) 2023 Ezekiel Baloyi, Nyasha Mapuwei Thu, 07 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0000