Sharing the Missionary Outreach of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Eastern Africa

Paper No. 2 for Breakout Session on “One Hand Washes the Other: Sharing the Missionary Outreach of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Eastern Africa”

Mission Congress 2015

Theme: Witnessing Mission: Called to be Missionary Disciples”

1 – 4 October, 2015

Houston, Texas, USA


Sharing the Missionary Outreach of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Eastern Africa


One minute of silence.

Meaning and metaphor of the Ugandan proverb: One hand washes the other (mutuality in mission).

How many of us are/have been part of a Small Christian Community (SCC)/

Basic Christian Community (BCC)/Small Faith Sharing Group (SFSG) of any kind?

Buzz Groups of two each. Share a SCC experience that you have had or a question that you have on SCCs.

SCCs stories: Germany, USA, Ghana and Kenya.

SCCs Bookmark.

Small Christian Communities Global Collaborative Website and Small Christian Communities Facebook Page:

Important quotations on SCCs and mission:

Pope Francis on becoming a small community of missionary disciples: “In virtue of their Baptism all members of the People of God have become missionary disciples.” (No. 120 of The Joy of the Gospel).

José Marins identifies five features or components central to the Basic Christian Community dynamic:  Prayer; Reflection on Reality; Discernment and Decision; Action [Mission]; and Celebration.  Basic Ecclesial Community: Church from the Roots, p. 18.

Patrick Kalilombe, one of the original architects of the SCCs pastoral plan in Eastern Africa, emphasizes that in the different stages of growth in SCCs the final stage is the "Transformation of Society." This means going beyond superficial changes to tackle the necessary structural and systemic changes in our society such as facing the underlying tribal and negative ethnic group tensions in Africa today, corruption/graft, insecurity and ongoing poverty. A process/methodology such as the Pastoral Spiral can help in this transformation.

Bernard Lee: “Full Christianhood is necessarily gathered and sent — community and mission belong together.  I can say clearly that while traditional SCC members (the elder groups) do care about the shape of the world outside of their gathering, they tend to be more attentive to being gathered than to being sent (in mission). Some of us are guessing that for today’s young adult Catholics, “sending” will attract attention sooner than “gathering.”

What is distinctive about Eastern Africa SCCs:

Neighborhood groups (Church in the neighborhood).

Meet weekly.

Lectionary-based faith sharing.

Pastoral model and parish-based.

Catechumen Communities (RCIA).

Practical action and outreach are central. 

Youth Small Christian Communities (YSCCs)

SCCs as a way of life, not a project or a program,

Two mission “take aways:”

World Mission Rosary especially with children.

SCC Twinning.                      

A final thought: Revelations 2:7 says :”Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” The “churches” are not just the ones of 2,000 years ago. SCCs are part of “the churches” in our contemporary world today. One writer says: “The phenomenon of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in the Archdiocese of Dar s Salaam, Tanzania is a great sign of the times and of the voice of the Holy Spirit.” What is the Holy Spirit saying to us in our faith sharing experiences during this Mission Congress, to the Local Church in Houston, to North America and around the world?

Prepared by:

Rev. Joseph G. Healey, MM
Maryknoll Society
P.O. Box 43058
00100 Nairobi, Kenya

0723-362-993 (Safaricom, Kenya)

973-216-4997 (AT&T, USA)

Skype: joseph-healey