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GloPent Research Project: Transnational Nigerian-initiated Pentecostal churches, networks and believers in three Northern countries

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Information regarding the first GloPent joint research project.


How do transnational Pentecostal churches, networks and believers from Nigeria operate in public space in Germany, Britain and The Netherlands, and to what extent are they representatives of religion as a re-emerging social force? This was the question central to the project on Nigerian-initiated Pentecostal churches that took place from 2007-2010 in England, the Netherlands and Germany, funded by NORFACE

Forms of global Christianity that originate in the Southern Hemisphere are increasingly negotiating public space in the Western European religious landscape. In the Southern Hemisphere continents, Pentecostalism is the fastest growing religion, its membership having multiplied in thirty years by a factor 7, now possibly numbering an estimated half a billion people (Anderson 2004:1).

Nigeria has an established Pentecostal landscape, arguably the most dynamic in the whole of Africa often with a significant missionary impulse and theological influence on other African Christians. These churches also circulate large amounts of printed and audio-visual material, providing ample sources for researching religious identity production (Hackett 1998, Ukah 2005).

Pentecostalism is by origin a global movement with a worldwide mission. Pentecostals often view themselves as world citizens - as is expressed in church names such as Jesus House for All Nations. Although many migrants come to Europe for economic or educational purposes, they sometimes reformulate their life-story in religious terms, interpreting their migration as directed by God to reclaim secularized Europe for Christianity. Central to the project was a focus on one particular Nigerian-initiated (Yoruba) church, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, active in all three countries.

This church, like other Nigerian-initiated Pentecostal churches operates effectively with a transnational strategy. Through their activities in Europe, they are tied in with other large scale processes such as migration, globalisation, the deprivatization of religion and the reconfiguration of urban spaces. The research of this project shows that they are quite clearly a social force in Europe: they are expanding, finding new ways of being present in public spaces and engaging with society, and are instrumental in constituting the spaces of the African Diaspora and shaping the self-conception of their members as valuable members of their host society. Furthermore, they contribute to the awareness of the European mainline churches that Christianity’s centre of gravity is moving south. All this is visible quite strongly in Britain, to a lesser extent in the Netherlands, and least in Germany.

Results were presented jointly during the annual GloPent conferences organized in Heidelberg in 2007, in Birmingham in 2009 and concluding conference of this project in Amsterdam as well as the NORFACE conferences. Furthermore, the individual researchers disseminated their findings through individual presentations at conferences, public lectures and numerous publications.

Selected Publications

Burgess, Richard (2008) ‘Freedom from the past and Faith for the Future. Nigerian Pentecostal Theology in Global Perspective’, in PentecoStudies 7 (2): 29-63

Burgess, Richard (2009) “African Pentecostal Spirituality and Civic Engagement: The Case of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Britain.” Special Issue on Global Pentecostalism (edited by William Kay), Journal of Beliefs and Values, vol. 30, no. 3, December, pp.255–73

Burgess, Richard, Kim Knibbe & Anna Quaas (2010) “Nigerian-initiated Pentecostal Churches as a Social Force in Europe: The Case of the Redeemed Christian Church of God,” In PentecoStudies, April, vol. 9, 97-121.

Knibbe, Kim (2009): ‘we came here as landlords, not as tenants: Nigerian Pentecostal churches and the power of maps’, in African Diaspora 2 (2): 133-158

Knibbe, Kim and Marten van der Meulen (2009): the role of spatial practices and locality in the Constituting of the Christian African Diaspora, in African Diaspora 2 (2): 125-130

Quaas, Anna & Haustein, Jörg (2009) Die Pfingstbewegung. In  Mühling, M. (ed.)  Kirchen und Konfessionen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 170-185.

Quaas, Anna (2010) Transnationale Pfingstkirchen. Christ Apostolic Church und Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria und Deutschland als Teil internationaler Netzwerke. Diss. University of Heidelberg. 


Further Information

Pentecostalism and African Migration to Europe from Nigeria and Ghana by André Droogers — last modified 2007-04-30 11:45
This is a bibliography on African Migrant Pentecostalism with a Focus on West African Migration (Nigeria and Ghana).
Section maintained by:

Kim Knibbe

Groningen, the Netherlands
University of Groningen

Richard Hugh Burgess

Roehampton, London
University of Roehampton

Anna Quaas

Heidelberg, Germany
University of Heidelberg
last modified 2014-05-18 01:43