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 email@example.com Reference for further information will be in the form of web sites and mailing addresses.
The Gambia is the smallest of all the independent states of Africa and is, save for a small coast line on the Atlantic Ocean, completely surrounded by Senegal. Occupying an area of little more than 11,000 sq km (4,300 sq miles) the Gambia has a population of less than 1.5 million people. Once a part of the Mali Empire, it became a British colony in 1816. Gambians struggled against their status as a colonial possession for nearly 150 years before finally gaining independence in 1965 at which time Sir Dawda Jawara and the People’s Progressive Party came into leadership. After nearly three decades of stability Jawara was displaced by a military coup led by Yaya Jammeh. Reform and free elections came two years later. Today the House of Representatives is the Gambia’s single legislative body.
Due to its subtropical climate and sunny dry season tourism has been an expanding industry for Gambia in recent years. Like many of its neighbors throughout Africa the Gambia is still reliant upon agriculture for three-quarters of its economic base, the bulk of which is in peanuts and peanut processing. Mineral deposits are a largely untapped resource. The Gambia River and estuary are navigable inland 200 km (125 miles); Banjul is considered the best harbor on the West African coast. Thus shipping, much of it from Senegal, is an important feature of the Gambian economy.
Islam claims 90% of the religious population of the Gambia; Christianity 9% and indigenous beliefs about 1%. Conflict between growing tourist life and Muslim tradition has led to controversy in the nation in recent years.
For about twenty-five years, from 1964-1989, an a cappella Church of Christ in Roseville, Michigan sponsored mission activity in the Gambia. American Pat Allison was one missionary who served in-country, as did Francis Fuah of Ghana. When Fuah returned to Ghana in the late 1980s the lone church in Banjul reported seventeen members with no active evangelist there to encourage them. The work of the Stone-Campbell Movement in the Gambia looked like it was at an end. However, by 1990 Joseph Wordle was able to report that there were two congregations and two national evangelists at work in the Gambia and that the older of the two congregations (Banjul?) had grown significantly, perhaps by an influx of Ghanaians. Part of that growth is due in part to Tehorou Toure, a native of the Ivory Coast who had been converted while in France and was later transferred by his company to Dakar, Senegal. Toure is credited with having established one of the congregations. During 1999 57 people were reported as having been baptized, a place of worship was dedicated for the London Center congregation, a radio program was begun, and ten students graduated from the School of Religious Studies in Bakau.
Kanifing Church of Christ is located behind the Senegalese School in Banjul, Kanifing. The total membership is presently reported at 120 with an active minister, youth minister and evangelism program. The congregation has also recently established a day nursery school.
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: