The Native Baptist Church situated in Douala is the temple of the Baptist Church of Cameroon. In its backyard is the tombstone of Reverend Adolf Lotin A Same (1881-1946), a charismatic figure of this first “indigenous” church in Cameroon.
The Native Baptist Church was founded in 1849 by the Baptist Mission Society of London, the first European religious congregation to settle on the banks of the Wouri River. The missionary Joseph Merrick, a black Jamaican, son of freed slaves, on his first arrival in 1843 takes up to spread the Gospel while promoting a spirit of independence in his preaching. The Native Baptist Church struggled for a whole century before becoming a legal local independent church.
In 1886, two years after the signing of the treaty between the Germans and the Duala, when the German authorities expelled the Baptist Mission Society and transferred its work to the Basel Mission, the Native Baptist Church congregation led by Reverend Joshua Dibundu Dibue protested vigorously and stood up for their self-governing. In 1917, under French rule the Native Baptist Church is again opposed to the authority of the Paris Mission (Société des Missions Evangéliques de Paris).
Appointed as president of the Native Baptist Church in 1921, Reverend Adolf Lotin A Same continued the struggle for the local church independence. Highly criticized, he was publicly deposed of his ministerial duties in 1922. Repression came hard. The Native Baptist Churches were closed down. The Reverend Lotin was forced to preach in secret. He was readmitted in 1932 but served several other jail terms, little appreciated as he was by French authorities. Generally considered as the first nationalist leader from French colonial times, this music composer left over 200 canticles written according to the ngosso rhythm and still sung today.
In 1949, the Native Baptist Church registered as an independent Church and changed its name to officially become the Baptist Church of Cameroon (“L'Eglise Baptiste du Cameroun”).