Emerging Ecumenical Church Polity, 1965-2010: Lessons from Efforts at Church Unity in Zambia
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AbstractThis article explores an emerging ecumenical church polity in Zambia from a church historical perspective. While church polity and church unity literature has acknowledged the role of church polity and church unity in Zambia, and its use for ecclesiological purposes, the growing use of church polity and the efforts at church unity in the period 1965-2010 in Zambia, have remained unexamined. This article thus explores qualitatively how church polity and church unity were viewed in church legislation and official church documents of the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), the Anglican Church in Zambia (ACZ) and the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) in Zambia. The article observes that ecumenical church polity has indeed been developed in Zambia and lessons from efforts at church unity in Zambia can assist in developing ecumenical church polity. This is demonstrated by comparing the church legislation and by studying lessons from efforts at church unity within the ranks of the UCZ, ACZ and UPCSA, among other ways. The article therefore advances the argument that ecumenical church polity can be developed by comparing the church legislation provisions and by studying the lessons from efforts at church unity in Zambia. This article contributes to the field of church history, church polity and ecclesiology.
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