The World Convention is currently building a global reference for the nearly 180 countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ congregations. Rather than wait for comprehensive, complete information we are putting up details that we readily have available. If you can correct or add to this information, please contact us with details at firstname.lastname@example.org Reference for further information will be in the form of web sites and mailing addresses.
The African state of Cameroon is on the Gulf of Guinea with Nigeria to the north and west and Congo to the South. An island belonging to Equatorial Guinea lies offshore of Cameroon in the Bight of Bonny. The name of Cameroon is taken from the Portuguese word for local prawns, camaraos. The irregularly shaped country with a long northern finger jutting between Nigeria and Chad covers an area of roughly 475,000 sq km (184,000 sq miles) with a population nearing 18 million. Cameroon’s first population was probably Pygmies. Muslim Fulanis entered the northern areas as early as the eleventh century; Bantus settled here in the fifteenth century. The Portuguese arrived in 1472; Cameroon was a German colony beginning in 1884. Subsequently the British and the French ruled Cameroon before independence was gained in 1960. Today Cameroon is divided geographically into four major zones, is home to two hundred distinct tribes, eighty different societies and two dozens African languages. The official languages are English and French but there are broad differences between the English and French speaking parts of the nation. In 1996 Cameroon was admitted to the British Commonwealth; it is governed by a single legislative branch known as the National Assembly.
Cameroon is one of the more prosperous of African nations due in part to the oil boom of 1970-1985. Three-quarters of the population are farmers accounting for three-quarters of the national economy. Coffee and cocoa are major exports in addition to bananas, oilseed, grains and manioc. Transportation, state sponsored industries and services account for the remaining quarter of the economic base.
In terms of religion more than half of the population practices indigenous beliefs while Christianity is practiced by about a third of the people. Islam is practiced by the remaining one-sixth.
The story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Cameroon begins in the early 1960s with the conversion of a Cameroonian in Yaounde. With the advent of the 1967 Civil War in neighboring Nigeria American a cappella Church of Christ missionaries Windle Kee and Gaston Tarbet relocated from Nigeria to an English-speaking section of Cameroon and began to minister there. In 1986 Doyle Kee went to Cameroon to help is brother, Windle, in spreading the Gospel to Maroua, Kalele, Minidif, and Garoua. Other American missionaries have included John W. Hall, Don Hindsley, Paul Kee, Darla Petty, Bonnie Jean Tirey and Tom Watson.
In 1982 a man in Geneva, Switzerland enrolled in a Bible correspondence course and at the same time enrolled a Cameroonian friend in a similar course. Within two years the Cameroonian, whose name unfortunately has not been recorded, enrolled some of his friends in other correspondence course. Within two years over six hundred were enrolled in courses! In 1986 another Cameroonian, Paul Kudi Eti, began the work of planting five congregations in the French-speaking and Muslim-dominated section of the country.
By 1990 thea cappella Churches of Christ numbered 125 congregations with an average attendance of 25-40; the largest is said to have had about two hundred in attendance. Total population of these congregations numbered about three thousand. Many of the congregations were reported to be self-sustaining, quite strong and healthy bodies, many with elders and strong leadership. About a hundred of the congregations were English-speaking, located mainly in the south-west and north-west provinces.
For a time the Averill Church of Christ in Flint, Michigan sponsored a mobile clinic serving and linking five villages. In the North-West Province about twenty congregations have cooperated to provide a service center where Bible correspondence courses and classroom teaching was delivered. In Bamenda and Banso (Kumbo) American missionaries Paul Kee and Tom Watson were able to preach and help with a hospital, health center, a school – Kumbo Christian Bible School- and printing and benevolent work.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see:
W. Paul Kee
P.O. Box 24
Nso, Bui Division, Cameroon