Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.

Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)

About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.

The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Christianity in Africa

In the earliest centuries of the Church, Africa played a prominent, if not decisive role. There was Alexandria, Egypt; Carthage, N. Africa; and then came Ethiopia. Below is a timeline of the history of Christianity in Ethiopia. I got this from a website describing a relatively new book by Thomas Oden, entitled: "How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind." Over 100 years ago, W.E. Dubois had described the prominent role of Africa in the early church, but surprisingly little attention has been paid to what actually happened in the early church in Africa. Oden's book is based not just on older Western histories but also on newly discovered records in Africa.

In Western culture and theology, the story has been told as if the first time Africans ever heard of Jesus was when white missionaries came to Africa in the 1600-1800's, mostly 1800's. With the resurgence of Christianity in Africa in our day, Africans are beginning to realize that they have an indigenous theology from long, long ago.

The date follows the description of the historical event.
Christianity in Ethiopia - 300 c.e.

Frumentius and Aedisius, two Syrian brothers, were rescued from a plundered Roman Ship off the Ethiopian coast. The two lads were escorted to the royal palace in Axum where both served for a number of years in significant administrative and Christianizing roles. Some years later Frumentius travelled to Alexandria to inform Athanasius of the development of Christianity in the Axumite palace, who ordained him bishop. - 320 c.e.

The Kingdom of Ethiopia adopts Christianity; Ethiopian missionaries sent to convert the Himyarites; the church historian Philostorgios offers first evidence of a Jewish presence in the region. - 327 c.e.

Christian cathedral St Mary of Zion in Axium; either newly built or converted temple. - 340 c.e.

Fall of island of Meroe to the Aksumite King Ezana; ancient capital of Meroe abandoned to Noba, perhaps pastoralists from south. - 350 c.e.

Aksumite inscriptions identify King Ezana and his brother Sazana, who convert to Christianity; monks migrate to Aksum. - 367 c.e.

Rufinus reports on Ethiopia. - 4th century

Some Christian scriptures translated into in Ge'ez. - 400 c.e.

Arrival of "Nine Saints," wandering Syrian monks; strongly influenced Ethiopian Christianity. - 490's c.e.

King Kaleb of Axum. - 514-542 c.e.

Ethiopian Christian forces attack the capital Zatar, but are driven back by the Himyarite army; Dhu Nuwas conducts a campaign against the Christians of Najran; Dhu Nuwas killed in battle in 525. - 522 c.e.

The Battle of the Elephant, in which the Meccans defeat the invading army of Christian Ethiopia. - 570 c.e.

Ethiopian church music composed by the monk Yared. - 6th century

Ethiopic Synaxary; 800s Christian empire in Ethiopia gravitates south after the decline of Aksum; Arab and Persian merchants explore East African coast with trading stations at Malindi, Mombasa, Kilwa, and Mogadishu. - 800-1000 c.e.

Ruler Degna Jan; a period of military expansion and Christianization. - 9th century

Zagwe Dynasty in Lasta. - 1137-1268 c.e.

Chapel in Jerusalem granted to Ethiopian pilgrims by Sultan Saladdin. - 1187 c.e.

Lalibela rock churches; Lalibela seventh king of Zagwe dynasty. - 1190's c.e.

The recorded lineage of the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia begins with Yekuno Amlak.
- 1268 c.e.

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