By Joseph G. Healey, MM
At its 6th Plenary Assembly from 20 November to 2 December, 1961 the Zaire Episcopal Conference (hereafter called by its present name the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC) approved a pastoral plan to promote "Living Ecclesial Communities” (also called "Living Christian Communities”). Communautés Ecclésiales Vivantes de Base (CEVB) is the full French term for SCCs. The bishops opted for these communities to be more important than the well-known mission structures (church buildings, schools, hospitals). These Living Ecclesial Communities were said to be the only way to make the church more "African" and close to the people. So the very first Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Africa started in DRC in 1961.
Then came the historic Second Vatican Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Vatican_Council) (1962-65). Small Christian Communities developed as a result of putting the communion ecclesiology and teachings of Vatican II into practice. The founding fathers of AMECEA (http://www.amecea.org) (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) and other Episcopal Conferences in Africa had a vision that focused on the communion (koinonia) and service (diakonia) aspects and developed SCCs as a concrete expression of, and realization of, the Church as Family Model of Church. Latin America, Africa and Asia (especially the Philippines) all pioneered the development of a SCC/BCC/BEC Model of Church. After considerable research and debate, many specialists feel that quite independently of one another these three areas of the Catholic Church in the Global South simultaneously experienced the extraordinary growth of SCCs. Thus, contrary to some misinformed interpretations, the African experience did not come from Latin America, but developed on its own. African SCCs have developed mainly as a pastoral, parish-based model.
The very beginning of SCCs in Eastern Africa can be traced back to the parishes of the Luo-speaking Deanery (especially Nyarombo, Ingri and Masonga Parishes) in North Mara in Musoma Diocese in northwestern Tanzania in 1966. This began with research on the social structures and community values of the African Independent Churches among the Luo Ethnic Group. The first terms used were chama (meaning "small group") and “small communities of Christians” (forerunner of SCCs). The Maryknoll missionaries focused on the formation of natural communities. By 1968 Nyarombo Parish had 20 small communities and five were started in a nearby parish. During the Seminar Study Year (SSY) in Tanzania in 1969 the concept and praxis of SCCs that were then called "local Church communities" were first articulated as a priority in both rural and later urban parishes.
The actual launching of SCCs in DRC goes back to the period 1971-1972 when there was a confrontation between President Mobutu Sese Seko and the Catholic Church. Mobutu’s “authenticity” campaign suppressed the missionary institutes and associations. To meet the crisis the church established the priority of the creation and organization of SCCs. The pioneering Cardinal Joseph Malula of Kinshasa Archdiocese, DRC stated: “The Living Ecclesial Communities are slowly becoming the ordinary place of Christian life, with the parish as the communion of the Living Ecclesial Communities.” This included emphasizing lay ministries and implementing Vatican II’s theology of laity, “the People of God.”
The bishops of the neighboring Republic of the Congo closely followed DRC’s leadership in their 1973 meeting. SCCs were built upon the extended family. In 1974 the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon followed suit. The expatriate missionaries in Northern Cameroon and neighboring Chad had already begun to channel the first evangelization into SCCs. In war-torn Burundi and Rwanda a similar six-year renewal plan was conceived in 1976 uniting people on every hill into “community meetings.” In Francophone West Africa the lead was taken by Burkina Faso in order that each and every one would feel truly part of and fully responsible for the Church as a family (1977). The South African Catholic Bishops Conference made a decisive step in the same direction in 1975.
During the World Synod of Bishops in Rome in 1971 on “Justice in the World” the African delegates noted that SCCs already existed in Africa. At the World Synod of Bishops in Rome in 1977 on “Catechesis” the Bishops in Africa declared themselves clearly in favor of SCCs.
The AMECEA Study Conference on “Planning for the Church in Eastern Africa in the 1980s” in Nairobi, Kenya in December, 1973 stated: “We have to insist on building church life and work on Basic Christian Communities in both rural and urban areas. Church life must be based on the communities in which everyday life and work take place: those basic and manageable social groups whose members can experience real inter-personal relationships and feel a sense of communal belonging, both in living and working.” This pastoral policy was in the context of the statement: “We are convinced that in these countries of Eastern Africa it is time for the Church to become truly local, that is, self-ministering, self-propagating and self-supporting.”
This is rooted in the theology that SCCs are not optional, but are the basic unit/basic cell/basic building block/basic foundation/most local expression of the Catholic Church. That is why ideally one should greet all people as Small Christian Community members. SCCs are different from the traditional parish associations and sodalities that are voluntary and often base on international constitutions and guidelines. Even a priest or religious can become a member of the SCC in his specific neighbourhood or geographical area (that is, where he or she is actually living).
Two of the founders of SCCs in Eastern Africa were Bishop Patrick Kalilombe, MAfr, of Lilongwe Diocese, Malawi and Bishop Christopher Mwoleka of Rulenge Diocese, Tanzania.
The AMECEA Study Conference on “Building Small Christian Communities” took place in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976. The key statement was: "Systematic formation of Small Christian Communities should be the key pastoral priority in the years to come in Eastern Africa.” This is the single most important statement made about SCCs. The meeting went on to affirm the essential ecclesial character and characteristics of Small Christian Communities by stating: “The [Small] Christian Communities we are trying to build are simply the most local incarnations of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
The Catholic bishops in Eastern Africa chose this SCC pastoral priority as the best way to build up the local churches to be truly self-ministering (self-governing), self-propagating (self-spreading), and self-supporting (self-reliant and self-sustainable). The three selfs are essential characteristics of SCCs as the base/basic level of the church, and by extension, of the Local Church. This is a real self-actualization of the church. The family, the SCC, the outstation, the sub-parish, the parish and the diocese reflect a “Communion of Communities Model of Church” starting from below, from the grassroots.
During this meeting the word "small" was specifically chosen to avoid certain undertones of the word "basic." Bishop Raphael Ndingi (later Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya) stated that to call our grassroots communities "small" instead of "basic" is another indication that the movement in Africa was growing on its own, quite independent of what was happening along the same lines in other places such as Latin America.
In 1975 Burkina Faso opted for the creation of SCCs on the model of Church as Family. Similar decisions were made by other Episcopal Conferences in Africa.
1978 saw the birth of Bible Sharing/Gospel Sharing at the Lumko Missiological Institute in South Africa. Excellent SCC training manuals began to be published that popularized the Lumko "Seven Steps" Method of Bible Sharing/Gospel Sharing. Altogether there are eight Gospel sharing methods that can be adapted to the local context and situation. These training manuals have been used throughout the Africa.
The AMECEA Study Conference on “The Implementation of the AMECEA Bishops’ Pastoral Priority of Building Small Christian Communities: An Evaluation” took place in Zomba, Malawi in 1979. One pastoral resolution stated: “SCCs are an effective way of developing the mission dimension of the church at the most local level, and of making people feel that they are really part of the church’s evangelizing work.”
The Bishops of Africa placed SCCs at the center of their pastoral strategy in two major SECAM (http://www.sceam-secam.org) (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) documents: Justice and Evangelization in Africa (Yaounde, Cameroon, 1981) and Church and Human Development in Africa (Kinshasa, DRC, 1984). Pastoral Centers in Africa have been very important in promoting this SCC Model of Church such as: AMECEA Pastoral Institute, Gaba, Eldoret, Kenya; Ave Maria Pastoral Center, Tzaneen, South Africa; Kenema Pastoral Center, Kenema, Sierra Leone; and Lumko Missiological Institute, Germiston, Delmenville, South Africa.
The AMECEA Study Conference on “Evangelization with its Central Issues: Inculturation, Small Christian Communities and Priestly, Religious and Christian Formation" in Lusaka, Zambia in 1992 focused on an “Evaluation of AMECEA.” The research findings identified four AMECEA priorities that included “Promotion of SCCs” and recommended in-service training for animators of SCCs. This conference reiterated the SCC pastoral commitment by stating: "So we repeat that SCCs are not optional in our churches; they are central to the life of faith and the ministry of evangelization."
A major step was the First African Synod in Rome in April, 1994 on the theme "The Church in Africa and Her Evangelizing Mission to the Year 2000” with five main topics: "Proclamation of the Good News of Salvation", "Inculturation," "Dialogue", "Justice and Peace" and the "Means of Social Communications." Of the 211 interventions during the first two weeks of the First African Synod, there were 29 interventions on SCCs (the fourth highest number after the topics of justice, inculturation and laity). Bishop Francisco Joao Siloto of Chimoio Diocese, Mozambique said that “these communities are an expression of African communitarianism and the only true way of inculturation for the African Church.” Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of Bamenda, Cameroon said that “it is necessary and urgent to put Sacred Scripture into the hands of the faithful so it can be the source and inspiration for the life and activities of Small Christian Communities.” Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya said that "Small Christian Communities help implement the ecclesiology of communion… It is of paramount importance that the Synod on Africa recommends the establishment of Small Christian Communities in the parishes, so that the new model of the parish for the year 2000 will be the one of a community of communities."
Regarding the “Ecclesiology of the Church-as-Family” the Final Message of the Bishops of Africa to the People of God in Section 28 on "The Church-as-Family and Small Christian Communities" states: “The Church, the Family of God, implies the creation of small communities at the human level, living or basic ecclesial communities…These individual Churches-as-Families have the task of working to transform society.”
1995 saw the publication and promulgation of Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation The Church in Africa in Yaounde, Cameroon, Johannesburg, South Africa and in Nairobi, Kenya between 14-20 September, 1995. Numbers 23 and 89 treat SCCs:
Number 23 under "The Family of God in the Synodal Process:" "If this Synod is prepared well, it will be able to involve all levels of the Christian Community: individuals, small communities, parishes, Dioceses, and local, national and international bodies."
Number 89 under "Living (or Vital) Christian Communities:" "Right from the beginning, the Synod Fathers recognized that the Church as Family cannot reach her full potential as Church unless she is divided into communities small enough to foster close human relationships. The Assembly described the characteristics of such communities as follows: primarily they should be places engaged in evangelizing themselves, so that subsequently they can bring the Good News to others; they should moreover be communities which pray and listen to God’s Word, encourage the members themselves to take on responsibility, learn to live an ecclesial life, and reflect on different human problems in the light of the Gospel. Above all, these communities are to be committed to living Christ’s love for everybody, a love which transcends the limits of natural solidarity of clans, tribes or other interest groups."
SCCs became an important part of the National Plans for the Implementation of the African Synod in the AMECEA countries. The African Synod Comes Home — A Simplified
Text (Pauline Publications Africa, 1995) and other post-synodal documents stressed the importance of SCCs in the follow-up and implementation of the recommendations of the First African Synod. This included developing SCCs as a concrete expression of, and realization of, the Church-as-Family Model of Church. This SCC Pastoral Priority was clear in Ndola Diocese, Zambia. The Ndola Diocesan Guidelines states: “We share in the universal Church’s mission…This is achieved through the establishment of active and fully involved Small Christian Communities.”
A key turning point for the growth of SCCs in Tanzania was promoting a model of church from the bottom up. “The implementation of the new Constitution of the National Lay Council in 1998 required that the election of lay leaders in parishes throughout Tanzania start at the level of SCCs and move upwards. This insured that the parish council leaders would be chosen from those who were already leaders in their SCCs – thus true representation from below. Such decisions gave full confidence to the faithful and opened new possibilities for the laity in the local church.” This can also be seen in diocesan synods on the local level. The booklet for the Synod of Mwanza Archdiocese in Tanzania in 2002 contains 105 references to Jumuiya Ndogo Ndogo za Kikristo (JNNK), the Swahili expression for SCCs.
Next was the AMECEA Study Conference on “Deeper Evangelization in the Third Millennium” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2002.” Section 7 of the Pastoral Resolutions is on “Building the Church as a Family of God by Continuing to Foster and/or Revitalize the Small Christian Communities,” No. 43 states: “We recommend that a programme on the theological and pastoral value of Small Christian Communities be included in the normal curriculum of the Major Seminaries and houses of formation of both men and women.”
On 19 March, 2009 in Yaounde, Cameroon Pope Benedict XVI promulgated
the Instrumentum Laboris (“Working Document”) of the 2009 Second African Synod.
While the English text of the Lineamenta published in 2006 uses the term "living ecclesial communities," the English text of the Instrumentum Laboris published in 2009 uses the more common term “Small Christian Communities” (note the capitals). The French text uses
“Communautés Ecclésiales Vivantes.”
SCCs are mentioned in 12 times in the Instrumentum Laboris and twice in the footnotes. This is significantly more than in the Lineamenta in which "living ecclesial communities" are mentioned three times in the document and twice in the questionnaire. This increase in the importance given to SCCs is clearly due to the many responses from the Episcopal Conferences in Africa and to other answers to the 32 questions of the original questionnaire.
The Second African Synod itself took place in Rome from 4-25 October, 2009 on the theme: "The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace." No. 22 of the Message of the Bishops of Africa to the People of God states: “Here we would like to reiterate the recommendation of Ecclesia in Africa about the importance of Small Christian Communities (cf. EIA, 89). Beyond prayer, you must also arm yourself with sufficient knowledge of the Christian faith to be able to “give a proof of the hope that you bear” (1 Peter 3:15) in the marketplaces of ideas…We strongly recommend the basic sources of Catholic faith: the Holy Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and most relevant to the theme of the Synod, The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church." Small Christian Communities are mentioned seven times in the “Final List of  Propositions.”
The Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of the Congo under the patronage of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo sponsored the 27th Theological Week of Kinshasa in Kinshasa, DRC from 21 to 25 February, 2011 on the theme “The Experience of Basic Living Ecclesial Communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Theological and Pastoral Perspectives after 50 Years" (“L’expérience des CEVB en RD Congo: Perspectives théologiques et pastorales 50 ans après”). This conference commemorated the 50th Anniversary of "Living Ecclesial Communities" in DRC (1961-2011). As a sign of unity and solidarity with other parts of Africa, in the day devoted to “Other Experiences of CEVB in DRC and Elsewhere,” Father Pius Rutechura, the then Secretary General of AMECEA (and now the Vice-Chancellor of CUEA), gave a paper under the heading “Echoes of English-speaking Africa: AMECEA” entitled “The Experience of the AMECEA Region with Small Christian Communities, Pastoral Priority since the 1970s.” Father Godefroid Manunga, SVD, the Director of the Lumko Missiological Institute, gave a paper on “The Experience of South Africa.”
Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africa’s Commitment (Africae Munus) in Ouidah, Benin in West Africa on 19 November, 2011. The four sections related to SCCs are:
Number 131 under “Lay People:” ”It can be helpful for you to form associations in order to continue shaping your Christian conscience and supporting one another in the struggle for justice and peace. The Small Christian Communities(SCCs) and the ‘new communities’ are fundamental structures for fanning the flame of your Baptism.”
COMMENTARY: In most official documents of the Catholic Church the traditional parish is the basic juridical unit of the Church. It is significant that SCCs are now called fundamental structures.
Number 133 under “The Church as the Presence of Christ:” “This is clearly seen in the universal Church, in dioceses and parishes, in the SCCs, in movements and associations, and even in the Christian family itself, which is ‘called to be a ‘domestic church’, a place of faith, of prayer and of loving concern for the true and enduring good of each of its members,” a community which lives the sign of peace. Together with the parish, the SCCs and the movements and associations can be helpful places for accepting and living the gift of reconciliation offered by Christ our peace. Each member of the community must become a ‘guardian and host’ to the other: this is the meaning of the sign of peace in the celebration of the Eucharist.”
COMMENTARY: SCCs are places to live Christ’s gift of reconciliation and peace. SCC members exchange a sign of Christ’s peace with each other and with others in the spirit of solidarity, unity and commitment/responsibility to each other.
Number 151 under “The Sacred Scriptures:” “Each member of Christ’s faithful should grow accustomed to reading the Bible daily! An attentive reading of the recent Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20100930_verbum-domini_en.html) can provide some useful pastoral indications. Care should be taken to initiate the faithful into the ancient and fruitful tradition of Lectio Divina. The Word of God can lead to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and bring about conversions which produce reconciliation, since it is able to sift “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Synod Fathers encouraged Christian parish communities, SCCs, families and associations and ecclesial movements to set aside times for sharing the Word of God. In this way, they will increasingly become places where God’s word, which builds up the community of Christ’s disciples, is read, meditated on and celebrated. This word constantly enlivens fraternal communion (cf. 1 Peter 1:22-25).”
COMMENTARY: This confirms the central place of Bible sharing and Bible reflection in the life of SCCs in Africa.
Number 169 under “Missionaries in the Footsteps of Christ:” In the context of the new evangelization “all Christians are admonished to be reconciled to God. In this way you will become agents of reconciliation within the ecclesial and social communities in which you live and work.”
COMMENTARY: This echoes many synod documents that encourage SCC members to become agents of reconciliation in their own faith communities on the local, grassroots level, in their natural, human communities and in the wider society.
c church ketu,since then it has spread to almost 50 parishes in Lagos such as st matthew’s amukoko,Holy Cross Lagos,Holy family festac e.t.c.presently,the scc in the archdiocese meet quarterly at Holy Cross.the scc is managed by Fr.julius olaitan,raphael okusaga,peter nwanze and napoleon musa.we move from parish to parish for training of facilitators and establishments of scc using lumko series.looking forward for more collaboration
The last 10 years has seen the increasing involvement of SCCs in promoting forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, justice and peace in Africa. There is considerable documentation on how some of the 20,000 base communities (another name for SCCs) were involved in the reconciliation and healing ministry in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. Research in Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan indicates that women are better in peacemaking than men. Men tend to emphasize power and control while women emphasize personal relationships. The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) in Lusaka, Zambia produced guided reflection pamphlets on justice and peace topics for SCCs to generate faith-based action. The various reflection methods in the Lumko Program especially related to social justice are used throughout Africa.
There is an ongoing emphasis on formation and training. Lumko Workshops are regularly held throughout Africa. A workshop on “The Role of SCCs in Civic Education in DRC” took place in Congo in Kinshasa in 2008. The annual Kenya Lenten Campaign trains SCC Leaders to use the inductive "see,’ “judge” and “act" process of the Pastoral Circle and to facilitate “Training of Trainers” (TOT) Workshops on justice and peace in parishes and SCCs. Hopefully the Biblical Centre for Africa and Madagascar, commonly known as BICAM, that is located at the SECAM Secretariat in Accra, Ghana can promote more training programs in bible reflection.
Research shows that a statistical and analytical evaluation of SCCs in Africa is better done on a diocese to diocese basis, and even on a parish by parish basis, rather than on a country to country basis. Presently there are 120,000 SCCs in the nine AMECEA countries. Kenya alone has over 45,000 SCCs.They are pastorally oriented and mainly parish-based. Some dioceses in Nigeria have active SCCs. In other dioceses they are non-existent. SCCs seem to regularly rise and fall. SCCs started in Lagos, Nigeria Archdiocese of Lagos in 1977. However by late 1980s the SCCs nosedived. In 1992 SCCs became alive again. Now there are SCCs in 50 parishes in the archdiocese. SCCs are very strong in DRC. 2006 statistics indicated that Kinshasa Archdiocese had 1,800 CEVBs in the city with many more in the surrounding rural areas. There are many SCCs in Southern Africa especially South Africa and Zimbabwe. IMBISA (Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa) conferences and workshops are an important catalyst. The small communities of Sant’Egidio in Mozambique provide another model of SCCs.
In terms of using the internet to promote SCCs in Africa “the future is now.” Today we have the growing importance of networking, the internet and the new media/social media: interactive websites specifically about SCCs in Africa, online journals, online learning sites, conferencing, webinars, search engines like Google, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Skype, podcasts, video clips, DVDs, special applications (called “apps”), e-readers, Quick Response (QR) Readers, plug-ins, blogs, list-servs, forums,email messages, cellphones (especially Smart Phones), other mobile devices, text messages, etc. The social media revolution is changing the way the world – and the Catholic Church in Africa – communicates.
In this digital age we can dramatically expand our knowledge and understanding on three levels. First, the internet and the new media/social media can help in the formation and training of SCC leaders/animators/facilitators/coordinators in Africa. Second, the internet and the new media/social media can help members of SCCs in Africa to share their experience with the rest of the world. Through the internet and other forms of this new information technology and digital world, members of African SCCs can also feel part of the Global Church, the World Church. Third, the internet and the new media/social media can help people around the world learn about SCCs in Africa.
A concrete example is the Small Christian Communities Global Collaborative Website (www.smallchristiancommunities.org) that shares SCCs contacts, information, events, materials and news for each of the six continents. The Africa Continent Section includes a lot of continent-wide material and specific national material from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania so far. Other features on the website are: Archives, Book Reviews, Calendar of Events, eBooks, Links to other SCCs Websites, Photo Gallery, Resources, SCC Polls, SCCs Stories Database, Search Engine, Videos, Vision and What’s New.
What is the future? Many African SCCs have emerged from reading the contemporary signs of the times in Africa and responding to today’s reality. Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the President of SECAM, calls SCCs “a special or priviledged instrument of evangelization.” Tanzanian theologian Laurenti Magesa emphasizes: “For the future of Christian mission, specifically in Africa, we can say without hesitation that the development of small faith communities is an indispensable requirement.” They can play a major role in the New Evangelization. Already as a new way of being church and a new model of church (closely related to the Church as Family and the Communion of Communities Models of Church) African SCCs are influencing the World Church. SCCs in Africa will continue to develop in the spirit of the Spanish proverb popular with the Base or Basic Christian Communities in Latin America: We create the path by walking.
About the Author
Father Joseph G. Healey, MM is an American Maryknoll missionary priest who lives in Nairobi, Kenya and teaches a full semester course on "Small Christian Communities (SCCS) as a New Model of Church in Africa Today" at Tangaza College (CUEA) and a SCCs Seminar Course at Hekima College. He is an ordinary member of the St. Kizito Small Christian Community in the Waruku Section of St Austin’s Parish in Nairobi Archdiocese. He co-edited Small Christian Communities Today: Capturing the New Moment (Orbis Books and Paulines Publications Africa) and is the Moderator of the Small Christian Communities Global Collaborative Website (www.smallchristiancommunities.org). He co-authored Towards an African Narrative Theology (Orbis Books and Paulines Publications Africa) and is the Moderator of the African, Sayings and Stories Website (www.afriprov.org). His most recent book is Building the Church as Family of God: Evaluation of Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa.Eldoret: AMECEA Gaba Publications – CUEA Press, Double Spearhead Nos. 199-200, 2012. Email: JGHealey@aol.com
Rev. Joseph G. Healey, M.M.
P.O. Box 43058
00100 Nairobi, Kenya
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NOTE: Published in Krämer, Klaus and Vellguth, Klaus (eds.), Small Christian Communities/Basic Ecclesial Communities, Volume 2, "Theology of One World” series of Mission Aachen, Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2013. It has five chapters on Africa including Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, “Small Christian Communities as a New Way of Becoming Church: Practice, Progress and Prospects;” Joseph Healey, “Historical Development of the Small Christian Communities/Basic Ecclesial Communities in Africa” and Rutechura, Pius, “The Pastoral Vision of Basic Christian Communities/Ecclesial Communities.”
German tranlation publihsed in Krämer, Klaus and Vellguth, Klaus (eds.), Kleine Christliche Gemeinschaften:Impulse für eine zukunftsfähige Kirche, ThEM2, Theologie der Einen Welt, Freiburg: Herder, 2012.
 Small Christian Communities (SCCs) is an umbrella term used in this article and is the common expression for this new way of being church in Africa. Even some writers in French prefer the term SCC because it indicates the “scale” of the communities. Different terms are used on the continent of Africa. BCC means Basic Christian Community. BEC means Base or Basic Ecclesial Community. CEB means Communautés Ecclésiale de Base. CEVB means Communautés Ecclésiales Vivantes de Base.