Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian



The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) is a
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest at St. Giles Cathedral (Church of Scotland). Presbyterian churches derive their n ...
denomination. It consists of five
synod A synod () is a council of a Christian denomination, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the Latin word meani ...
s: one in
Zambia Zambia (), officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern and East Africa, although it is typically referred to as being in Southern Africa at its most central point. Its neighbours are th ...
( Zambia Synod), one in Zimbabwe ( Harare Synod) and three in
Malawi Malawi (; or aláwi Tumbuka: ''Malaŵi''), officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast ...
Livingstonia Synod in the north of the country, Nkhoma Synod in the centre, and Blantyre Synod in the south. The CCAP is the largest Protestant denomination in Malawi.Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, '' Operation World: 21st Century Edition'' (Paternoster, 2001)
p. 419


Following the arrival of
David Livingstone David Livingstone (; 19 March 1813 – 1 May 1873) was a Scottish physician, Congregationalist, and pioneer Christian missionary with the London Missionary Society, an explorer in Africa, and one of the most popular British heroes of t ...
Scottish Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest at St. Giles Cathedral (Church of Scotland). Presbyterian churches derive their na ...
churches established missions in Malawi. In 1875, the Free Church of Scotland established itself in northern Malawi with headquarters in Livingstonia, while in 1876 the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Reformation of 1560, when it split from the Catholic Church an ...
set up a mission in
Blantyre Blantyre () is Malawi's centre of finance and commerce, and its second largest city, with an enumerated 800,264 inhabitants . It is sometimes referred to as the commercial and industrial capital of Malawi as opposed to the political capital, L ...
. In 1889 the Cape Synod of the
Dutch Reformed Church The Dutch Reformed Church (, abbreviated NHK) was the largest Christian denomination in the Netherlands from the onset of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century until 1930. It was the original denomination of the Dutch Royal Family and ...
in South Africa began work in central Malawi. Initially its base was Mvera, but it later relocated to Nkhoma. These three missions were the start of the three CCAP synods in Malawi. In 1911 the Livingstonia and Blantyre Synods agreed to join together to form the CCAP T. Jack Thompson, ''Christianity in Northern Malaŵi: Donald Fraser's missionary methods and Ngoni culture'', BRILL, 1995,
pp. 211–213.
/ref> although, because of World War I, this union did not take place until 17 September 1924. The CCAP at that time had 28 ministers (about half of whom were African) and 32 elders (almost all of whom were African). In 1926, the formerly Dutch Reformed Nkhoma Synod joined the CCAP.Robert Benedetto and Donald K. McKim, ''Historical Dictionary of the Reformed Churches'', 2nd ed, Scarecrow Press, 2010,
p. 443.
/ref> The Harare Synod joined in 1965, while the Lundazi Synod (now called the Zambia Synod) joined in 1984. In 1993, the Blantyre Synod issued a statement which acknowledged historically close ties with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) so that "the church gradually lost its ability to admonish or speak pastorally to the government"Paul Gifford, ''The Christian Churches and the Democratisation of Africa'', BRILL, 1995,
p. 103.
/ref> and indicated that they did "not want to make the same mistake at this time in order to ensure that the church retains its prophetic voice throughout the coming years of our country’s history." In 1998, some
Charismatic Charisma () is a personal quality of presence or charm that compels its subjects. Scholars in sociology, political science, psychology, and management reserve the term for a type of leadership seen as extraordinary; in these fields, the term "ch ...
members split from the CCAP to form the Presbyterian Church of Malawi (PCM).Rhodian G. Munyenyembe, ''Christianity and Socio-cultural Issues: The Charismatic Movement and Contextualization of the Gospel in Malawi'', African Books Collective, 2011,
p. 6.
/ref> The CCAP entered into a high-profile public feud with Malawian Second Vice President Chakufwa Chihana in 2004 after Chihana told the church not to "meddle" in politics.


The Nkhoma Synod have adopted the Belgic Confession,
Heidelberg Catechism The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), one of the Three Forms of Unity, is a Protestant confessional document taking the form of a series of questions and answers, for use in teaching Calvinist Christian doctrine. It was published in 1563 in Heidelber ...
, and Canons of Dort as their doctrinal standards. The Zambia Synod subscribes to these and to the Gallican Confession,
Scots Confession The Scots Confession (also called the Scots Confession of 1560) is a Confession of Faith written in 1560 by six leaders of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. The text of the Confession was the first subordinate standard for the Protestant ...
Second Helvetic Confession The Helvetic Confessions are two documents expressing the common belief of the Calvinist churches of Switzerland. History The First Helvetic Confession ( la, Confessio Helvetica prior), known also as the Second Confession of Basel, was drawn up in ...
Thirty-Nine Articles The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (commonly abbreviated as the Thirty-nine Articles or the XXXIX Articles) are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the ...
, and
Westminster Confession The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the "subordinate standard" ...
.CCAP Zambia - What We Believe


* Blantyre Synod (southern Malawi) * Nkhoma Synod (central Malawi) * Synod of Livingstonia (northern Malawi) * Synod of Zambia (Zambia) * Harare Synod (Zimbabwe)

See also

Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Con ...


External links

Church of Central Africa Presbyterian – Blantyre SynodChurch of Central Africa Presbyterian – StPauls CCAP Church
{{Authority control Presbyterian denominations in Africa Presbyterianism in Malawi Presbyterianism in Zambia Protestantism in Zimbabwe Members of the World Communion of Reformed Churches Christian organizations established in 1924 Presbyterian denominations established in the 20th century