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UCZ History

On the 16th of January 1965, the United Church of Zambia was formed. Four mainline separate missions came into union representing different Christian traditions namely; the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (PEMS) under the leadership of Francios Coillard, a French Calvinist missionary who arrived in August 1884; The London Missionary Society (LMS), in the northern of Zambia came second just before colonization and after David Livingstone’s death. This missionary society was under the leadership of Mr Stevenson, who established the first mission station at Niamukolo in 1885. After the LMS, came the Primitive Methodists who were later on joined by the Wesleyan Methodists in 1885.

The Rev H. Buckenham was the founding leader who established a mission station at Nkala-central of Zambia. In 1932, a synod was formed to merge the Primitive and the Wesleyan Methodists in Zambia. The fourth mission to come into the union was the Church of Scotland (the Presbyterians) in the North–Eastern of Zambia in 1885. This mission played a very important role in the evangelization of Malawi and some other parts of Zambia. J. Weller singles out missionaries who played a significant role to establish the first permanent mission in Zambia at Mwenzo, near Tanzania in 1894.

Opposed to previous local unions organized by white colonial missionaries, the formation of the United Church of Zambia was truly driven by the word of God and the African spirit of integration. The concept of the unity of the Church can only be appreciated and its significance grasped when we take a hind look at the growth of Church throughout history to draw lessons from more than two thousand years of its existence for use by the Church.  Paul in trying to address the lack of unity in the Epistle to the Romans wrote:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus”(Romans 15:5)

Both Jesus and the Apostles labored to unify the believers as is evident in the many instances found in Scripture. The political liberation of Zambia contributed to the urgency union of the Churches echoing the slogan of “One Zambia, One Nation” coined by the first Republican president, Dr Kenneth David Kaunda. The United Church of Zambia is a church that has membership across the country. According to the 2009 latest church statistics, the UCZ has a membership of 2,000,000 Christians. Out of this membership, 60% are women and the rest are men and youths.

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