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Title: Elements Sustaining Public Worship among Diaspora African Christians in Liverpool since 1900
Author: Ayokunle, Samson Olasupo A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3434 0052
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2007
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1. Identifying the Research Questions The British society in a way does not encourage the worship of God. What it encourages is the caricature of the worship of God. But we Christian pastors and Mricans in particular believe that if we train our people and focus their gaze properly on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the society will not be able to squeeze them into its mode.! . The above statement is symptomatic of the problem that Diaspora Mrican Christians assume is posed for their own spirituality and, in particular, their public worship by the decline in the popularity of religion in British society? The statement also suggests that Diaspora Mrican Christians perceive that direct and purposeful Christian teaching with emphasis upon discipleship is a panacea for halting the influence of secularization on the faith of their members in Britain. This study takes off from these presuppositions/hypotheses to explore how today's Diaspora African Christians in the city of Liverpool sustain their faith commitment, especially through their participation in public worship. This research has not limited the provision of an answer to the exploration of the elements of worship alone, although that is the primary focus. Worship takes place not in a vacuum, but in a society. The study, therefore, explores the manner in which Liverpool's Diaspora Mricans Christians relate their public worship to broader personal and social goals. The answer to the research question was also sought through a consideration of conditions within the host society. This is done by exploring those factors within the community of Liverpool that either enable or stand in the way of the worship of Diaspora Mrican Christians. This necessarily involves the location of today's Diaspora African Christian community against the background of a historical overview of their migration and settlement in the UK and particularly in the city of Liverpool. This migratory movement has resulted in the creation of a dynamic Mrican Diaspora community in the city. Consequently, the study explores the religious consciousness and activities of the communities, especially focusing upon the elements of their public worship as an effective part of community life and social identity. The study further explores how Diaspora Mrican Christians have been able to navigate successfully the various dilemmas they face as they come to Britain and Liverpool. These dilemmas include the increasingly secular nature of their new society, which appears to be in direct contrast to their very religious African society.3 This dilemma is heightened by the rejection some say they faced from the white· churches when they attempted to worship with them, the racial hostility some have encountered in society, and the loneliness that most of them experienced in Liverpool. The apparent lack of openness to the adaptation of mainstream worship and, indeed, of theological expression to Mrican sensibilities, is equally part of their dilemmas. These factors have not only led them to establish their own churches but have helped to reinforce their attitudes towards public worship. Hence the act of public worship does not for them stand apart from their wider cultural expression, but rather it 3 The response of virtually all interviewees that they came from a very religious Mrican background is functions as an adequate coping tool for Diaspora Mrican Christians in Liverpool. It also gives them the opportunity of experiencing holistic life fulfilment within an enabling social groUp.4 . The African churches thus serve the fulfillment of sociocultural and spiritual yearnings of Mricans in the diaspora. Sturge refers to these functional assemblies as 'the Community Church's, which I would prefer to term as the Holistic Church. It is holistic in terms of its determination to minister to the spirit, soul and body of every member. , The thesis approaches the research question by identifying the background religious worldview of Diaspora Mricans, the nature of their worship, and the conditions in the host society, as the three principal sources of religious behaviour of these immigrants. This is brought together as the interpretative triangle of religious behaviour. The impact of Diaspora Mrican Christians' worship on the Liverpool community is examined alongside a critique of those factors in the host society that enable or inhibit the people's worship. It is my hope that the findings from the research will be of benefit to Christian churches all over the world, but especially to the Mrican immigrant churches and other Christian churches in Liverpool. This research does not investigate the future of public worship among the future generation of Diaspora Mricans Christians; this is however an interesting area for further research. Taken as a whole, the thesis offers a comprehensive response to questions relating to the role of public worship among Liverpool Diaspora Mrican Christians and to the manner in which that public worship is sustained.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available