Accepted Paper:

'Heaven on earth': religious place-making through the claim of 'internationalism' in an African-initiated Pentecostal Church in Berlin - Germany  

Author:

Regina Kanzler

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to outline the process of establishing and maintaining national and transnational networks of the International Church of Berlin. Furthermore, it will focus on the conflicts which emerged during the creation of an 'international' vs. an 'African' identity in the process of diasporic religious emplacement.

Paper long abstract:

Many of the African migrants living in Germany are Christians. They established own religious communities in the diaspora. Most of these African Churches have regional, national and transnational networks with African, German and other Churches. One of them is a Pentecostal Church in Berlin, the "International Church of Berlin" (ICB).

The pastor of the ICB, who started the Church with African members only (mostly from Ghana and Nigeria), today emphasises the Church to be "truly" international. In fact, besides members from different African countries, there are also members from Eastern and Southern Europe as well as Germans. In this process of religous place-making, conflicts emerged through the claim of "Internationalism" and small groups left the ICB to found own religous communities. Since 1998 the pastor of the ICB established three branches in Accra, Ghana and one in Lome, Togo, to where he travels periodically. He is doing "apostolic work" there and mediates and instructs the pastors of the branches. Another transnational relationship was built with a pastor from Nigeria, who visits as often as possible the ICB in Berlin, while in Nigeria he arranges i.a. big prayer meetings for Germany.

In my lecture, I first will outline the process of establishing and maintaining national and transnational networks, including the travelling of Pastors as religious authorities. Secondly, I will focus on the conflicts which emerged during the creation of an "international" versus an "African" identity in the process of diasporic religious emplacement.

Panel W067
Transnational religious networks and their European emplacement