The Development And Transformation Of The United Methodist Church In Zimbabwe, 1956 To 1980
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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United African National Council
United Methodist Church (U.S.)
The common perception of missionary churches in Africa during the colonial era was that they were agents of colonialism and that they up-held the status quo of African subservience to Western imperialism, segregation and racism writ large. This dissertation, however, describes the developments and transformations that occurred within the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Zimbabwe between 1956 and 1980, whereby the Church went through a process of Africanization.This study details the UMC's responses to the challenges of institutional racism, its medical and educational ministries, the Church's responses to issues of African urbanization as well as the increasing pace of African nationalist political consciousness. This work posits that the UMC transformed and developed into an institution that embraced the African culture and espoused the African nationalist aspirations while attempting to become more relevant in all aspects of the wider society. While the African nationalistand descriptive narrative approaches provide the theoretical framework for this study, the methodology consists of extensive use of primary and secondary sources. Personal papers, manuscripts, and autobiographical texts from key figures and informative sourceson the UMC such as Bishop Ralph Dodge and Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa were consulted. Other primary sources consulted include archival sources in the United States and in Zimbabwe. The works of scholars such as J.W.Z. Kurewa, Nathan Goto and Dickson Mungazi and others, whose secondary sources add perspective and insight to the discourse, were equally examined.This research detailed the social and ecclesiastical shifts within the UMC, as well as the religious, economic and political roles of the UMC in Zimbabwe.