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Africa World Press & The Red Sea Press

TRANSFORMING AFRICA'S RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPES: The Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), Past and Present Edited by,Barbara Cooper, Gary Corwin, Tibebe Eshete, Musa Gaiya, Tim Geysbeek, & Shobana Shankar


TRANSFORMING AFRICA'S RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPES: The Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), Past and Present Edited by,Barbara Cooper, Gary Corwin, Tibebe Eshete, Musa Gaiya, Tim Geysbeek, & Shobana Shankar


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This book tells the story of the collaborative efforts of missionaries of the SIM, an international Christian mission founded in North America, and African Christians to evangelize in the wider Sudan (generally meaning countries spanning from Senegal to Ethiopia). In 1893, when SIM was formed, the Sudan—home to Islam, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and African traditional religions—had seen little Protestant Christian evangelism. Within ten years, most of the region came under the yoke of European imperialism, and, over the next several decades, missionaries flooded this little-touched mission field. Yet the story of the SIM, perhaps the most widely active mission in the Sudan, stands apart because it was not attached to any imperial power or state church, such as the Church Missionary Society of the Anglican Church. The SIM was an interdenominational society sending missionaries from North America, Australia, and various European countries to the Sudan.

This book is the first to provide case studies exploring the SIM and African initiated efforts to confront political, cultural, religious, technological, and social challenges to spreading the Christian gospel and ministering to human needs. In the process, the SIM and African Christians transformed not only the nature of modern missionary work, but also relationships within African societies. This book gives readers a broad sampling of the history and present activities of the SIM and related African churches and shows their importance in critical transformations in modern Africa, from the abolition of slavery to the development of African-led missionary movements, and the efforts to contain outbreak of Lassa and Ebola fevers.

The originality of this volume is not only its historical content but also the several essays discussing contemporary African developments. The dynamism of African Christianity is widely acknowledged, but few scholarly works connect the history of Euro-American missions to current religious transformations in Africa. This book explores SIM’s continuing connection with African churches from Liberia to Ethiopia and sheds light on two themes of significant contemporary interest that Christian missions were crucial in introducing: communications technology and medical infrastructure.

Transforming Africa’s Religious Landscape eloquently synthesizes the religious trajectories and dynamics associated with Christian missionaries in Africa, especially the activities of the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) from which the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) was established. The book represents a collection of brilliantly researched chapters by experts from Africa, Europe and the Americas, and is an indispensable guide for those seeking to navigate the contours of African social transformations since the nineteenth century.
—Mukhtar Umar Bunza, Professor of Social History, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, Hon. Commissioner Higher Education, Kebbi State, Author of, Christian Missions among Muslims: Sokoto Province, 1935-1990

This significant book adds to the explosion of first-rate recent scholarship on "world Christianity." With a full range of African and non-African authors, the book's wide compass takes in politics, society, ancestral African religion, government policy, imperialism, attitudes toward race, (of course) missionary Christianity, and more. Fine grained local studies accompany broader surveys to fully justify the book's claims about the transformative effects of the SIM on African religion.
—Mark A. Noll, author of Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press)

Deeply researched, engagingly written, and brilliantly argued, this volume makes a powerful contribution to the study of Christian missions in Africa. It offers groundbreaking work on the history of the Sudan Interior Mission; its successor organization, SIM International; and the many African churches and organizations that arose through its encounters.
—Heather J. Sharkey, Professor, University of Pennsylvania



586 Pages

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