The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) is a fellowship of Christian churches in Africa which confess Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures. This fellowship accounts for over 120 million Christians across the continent. AACC is the largest association of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Indigenous churches in Africa and is a member of the worldwide ecumenical network.
The decision to create a regional organization was taken at a widely representative meeting at Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1958. The work of the Provisional and Continuation Committees appointed following the Ibadan Conference led to the birth of the AACC at its first Assembly on 20th April 1963 in Kampala, Uganda. The establishment of the AACC marked the end of the missionary era and the beginning of the autonomy of African Churches. The theme of the Kampala Assembly was Freedom and Unity in Christ. The delegates addressed the colonial situation in the spirit of nationalism that permeated the political scene of the continent at the time.
The message of Kampala to the churches in Africa asked a vital question that needs to be asked again today: “Why, in Cape Town Dakar, in Douala and Nairobi, on the plains and by the rivers of this land, must we continue in those divisions, which crucify the Lord until He returns?” The delegates identified themselves with the aspirations of the peoples of the continent towards development of dignity and a mature personality in Christ and exhorted the churches “to participate wholeheartedly in the building of the African nation.”
Since its establishment the AACC has accompanied the churches in their engagement in the decolonisation and nation building processes. It played a significant role in the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. The journey towards unity and freedom initiated at Kampala has continued through seven other Assemblies with different themes:
The themes of AACC's General Assemblies manifest the effective prophetic witness of the Church in Africa as the people of the continent struggle with the issues that confront them in their daily lives. The theme of the Eighth Assembly, Come Let us Rebuild, was a call to the churches to continue where they left off at Kampala. The impulse for the theme is the Nehemiah motif of rebuilding Jerusalem devastated by the Babylonian exile. Like Jerusalem of the time, the continent of Africa has gone through devastation of many sorts.
The euphoria that characterised the period of independence has been lost and the continent has experienced conflicts and wars, resulting from disappointingly bad governance, corruption, global economic injustice. Increased poverty has characterised the independent nations and has been further compounded with the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that continues to devastate the populations. The Eighth Assembly in Yaounde re-issued the call of Kampala «to participate wholeheartedly in the building of the African nation».
The AACC continues to stand with the churches in addressing relevant issues that confront the continent, and to provide a platform of collective voices and collective action.
Who belongs to AACC?
AACC has 173 members in 40 African countries. The membership comprises Churches, National Christian Councils, Theological and Lay Training Institutions, and other Christian organisations.
For operational and administrative reasons AACC has divided the continent into five sub-regions:
Northern Africa (5 countries)
Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean (7 countries)
Southern Africa (10 countries)
Central Africa (8 countries)
Western Africa (10 countries)
This division ensures that every region is adequately represented in AACC’s decision making bodies. It also enables the AACC to have a better understanding of specific social economic and political issues facing the regions and thus be able to serve them better.