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Open Access The Church Building: A Sanctuary or a Consecrated Place? Conflicting Views between Angolan Pentecostals and European Presbyterians

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The Church Building: A Sanctuary or a Consecrated Place? Conflicting Views between Angolan Pentecostals and European Presbyterians

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image of African Diaspora

The African diaspora is partly shaped through religious institutions, such as the migrant churches. Angolans, like other Africans, when building a new life in the Netherlands, find new ways to gather in church communities. Since these communities need housing, the existing church building is a place of encounter between established and migrant church communities. Far from approaching African diaspora as Africans facing problems in a host environment, this article states that in the encounter between locals and migrants at least two parties are challenged in their comfort zones.

Taking a conflict between the Angolan church Igreja do Espirito Santo and the Presbyterian Holy Chapel in Rotterdam as a case study, it is argued that the material aspect of this shared place of worship is an enlightening perspective for studying this cross-cultural encounter. This article consists of three levels of analysis, namely of theological differences, differences in aesthetical appraisal of the building and differences in standards of purity and pollution. La diaspora africaine est en partie formée par des institutions religieuses, comme l'église immigrée. Les Angolais, comme d'autres Africains, en construisant une nouvelle vie aux Pays-Bas, trouvent de nouvelles façons de se réunir dans des communautés religieuses. Puisque ces communautés ont besoin de logement, les bâtiments d'église existants sont des endroits de rencontre entre les communautés des Eglises établies et immigrées. Plutôt que d'approcher le sujet de la diaspora africaine sous l'aspect de « problèmes que les Africains rencontrent dans un environnement hôte », cet article constate que dans la rencontre entre la population locale et les migrants, au moins deux groupes sont défiés dans leurs zones de confort.

A partir de l'étude de cas du conflit entre l'église angolaise d'Igreja do Espirito Santo et la chapelle presbytérienne, il est discuté que l'aspect matériel de ce lieu de culte partagé est une perspective d'instruction pour étudier cette rencontre multiculturelle. Cet article se réfère à trois niveaux d'analyse, à savoir les différences théologiques, les différences dans l'appréciation esthétique du bâtiment et les différents normes de pureté et de pollution.


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