A retired senior University Lecturer and Church Minister, Rev. Dr. Leslie E.T. Shyllon has written a book titled: Two centuries of Christianity in an African Province of Freedom- Sierra Leone, A case study of European influence and culture in church development.
The book will be launched on April 24th at the Miatta Conference hall.
Dr. Shyllon’s book has seventeen chapters looking at topics tracing Christianity in the early settlement of Sierra Leone, static church, CCMS and WMMS- pioneer missionary societies, the Wesleyan Methodist Churches in the city, the Sierra Leone Church- CMS/Anglican 1851-1971. Other mainline church denominations, the American Missionary Associations’ activities in Sierra Leone, Roman Catholicism in Sierra Leone, Christianity and Education, Pentecostal/Evangelical movements, the Independent African Churches, Kriodom- an unconscious set-back to missionary- their potential for mission, tribal wars and their effects on the missions. The book also traced hinterland missions, from mission to church: indigenization or self reliance and Christianity and inter- faith relationship.
The foreword of the book was written by the late Akintola J.G Wyse, Professor of History, F.B.C, where he stated that Dr. Shyllon came up with a definitive and comprehensive study of the Christian religion in Sierra Leone. “It is the result of years of research supplementing the time which he took to work on his doctoral thesis at Aberdeen University under the supervision of Professor Andrew Walls” he wrote of him.
He further stated that it was against that thesis that Dr. Shyllon threaded his way through a labyrinthine like course of representations of Christianity in a spectrum that includes the liberated Africans, their Krio descendants, the American inspired missionary outreach into the then protectorate of Sierra Leone, the Apostolic and Evangelical Churches, Pentecostal and born again churches as well as the tribal churches.
The late Professor Akintola Wyse described the book as a voluminous work spiced with lots of materials useful to historians and sociologists as it engages in the discourse on the indigenization of Christianity.
Prefacing his book, Dr. Shyllon said the aim was to develop available church history resources that will encourage further research and improve teaching on Sierra Leone Christianity. And it should include a cooperative history of all branches of the church in Sierra Leone as well as a reader- suitable for university, seminary, teacher training college as well as senior secondary school.
The book gives a true perspective of the origin and development of the Christian faith and the church as an institution in Sierra Leone; drastically illustrating that Christianity in its practically enthusiasms was not introduced by Europeans but has rather, for a considerable period been a continuous process of European influence of Missionaries from Europe and America.
The latter part of the book portrays the phenomenal growth of the church in Sierra Leone in the last fifty years of the twentieth century, which has resulted in Christians becoming the leaders and custodians of decisions of post independence Sierra Leone, a force with the greatest potential for bringing real spiritual liberation to the nation.
Dr. Shyllon is a retired senior lecturer in Theology, specializing in Church History.
He is an ordained Methodist Minister with over forty years pastoral and teaching experience.