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The Baha’i Church of Calabar

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Chapter Summary

The history of the arrival of Baha'is, Baha'i ideas, and Baha'i religious identity on the West African scene is - as with all human history - extremely complex. This chapter is devoted to just such a discontinuous event, or chain of events: the establishment of the Baha'i Church of Calabar in 1955-1956. Here was an independent church based on Baha'i teachings which was established wholly without connection to any Baha'i pioneer, and which existed without communication with any Baha'i in the world outside of its own congregation, for the duration of its short existence. Nonetheless, for a short time, it succeeded in capturing the interest, the participation, and the allegiance of virtually all of the Cameroonian men on one large palm plantation in eastern Nigeria. The Baha'i Church of Calabar was organized in June of 1955 by Oscar Njang and Peter Oben-Etchi, neither of whom was a Baha'i.

Keywords:Baha'i Church; Calabar; Cameroonian; discontinuous event; Nigeria; Oscar Njang; Peter Oben-Etchi; West African

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