The Goodnews Community International, Nigeria: The Social Significance of Pentecostalism in a changing society

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE:
Introduction: Background and Method Preliminary Notes
The Annang People
Choice of the GCI and Method of Study
Organisation of Study

CHAPTER TWO: The Goodnews Community International: History and Structure The Founder’s Biography
The Anthem of Goodnews Community International
The Beginning of the Goodnews Community International.
Doctrinal Emphases
Important Institutions in the Teachings of the GCI
The Home
Government
The Church
Membership and Responsibility of the GCI
Hierarchical Structure of the GCI
The Head of the Community
The Administrator General 36 The Community Secretary
The Chief Accounts Officer
The Heads of the Six Departments
Overseas Representatives
The Welfare Manager
The Corporate Affairs Director
The Governing Bodies of the Goodnews Community International
Council Twenty-Four
Community Executive Council (Exco)
The General Council
Missions Board
General Assembly
The Gospel Village
Life in the Gospel Village
The Goodnews Evangelical Team
Faithful Men’s Services Department
Music Department
Information and Correspondence Department
Prayer Department
Guidance and Counselling
Education Department
Health-Care/Welfare Department
Drama and Films Department
The Virtuous Women Services Foundation
The Tabernacle of Praise
Financial Resources of the Tabernacle of Praise
The Goodnews Development Foundation

CHAPTER THREE: The Social Significance of the Goodnews Community International The Goodnews Community International as an Alternative Society
Political Participation
Economic Theory and Practice
The Attitude towards Women
The GCI and the Problem of Witches and Divination
Witches/Wizards
Faith Healing and Miscellaneous Issues
Appraisal

CHAPTER FOUR: The Goodnews Community International: Summary, Critique and Conclusion Summary
Critique
The GCI in a Religiously Pluralistic Society
The Problem of Poverty and Prosperity Religion
The Potential Problem of Leadership 116 Security for the full-Time Workers and the Aged
The Goodnews Community International and Family Cohesion
The Possible dissolution of the Goodnews Community International: A Sign of contradiction

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FOREWORD

The in-depth study of African Christianity is receiving a new burst of life in light of recent social changes taking place in the continent. Particularly, the historiography of African Pentecostalism is at the centre of a good number of well-researched studies and recent scholarly publications. In many of these studies, urban Pentecostal groups receive much attention while some strands of the same phenomenon located in peri-urban and rural milieus remain sadly neglected. This is particularly so in Nigeria where the histories of “super-mega churches” such as The Deeper Life Bible Church, The Redeemed Christian Church of God and Church of God Mission International are well documented partly because they are urban-based and partly because they have inserted themselves in the glittering world of global mass media and popular culture. There are other Pentecostal organisations that are indeed impacting their adherents and their immediate environments but are neglected mainly because they are pen-urban and rural-based. As a result, the historical and social significance of these rural-based organisations are not properly appreciated by both scholars and the general public, both because they are less known, and because the data about them are not easily available or accessible to research communities around the world.

Dr. Anthonia M. Essien sets out to address the above state of affairs by documenting the history of one of the early purveyors of Nigeria’s “new Pentecostalism” which emerged, not from the ashes of war, but from the heat of economic scarcity of post-war Nigeria She painstakingly documents original data empirically collected and insightfully analyzed, a research never before published, about a religious community, the Goodnews Community International (GCI), with a claim to unique vision, insight and practice. She shows the background to the group’s emergence and popularity within her own people of Annangland (Akwa Ibom state, south-eastern Nigeria) whose context gives relevance and form to GCI and its practices and doctrines. She chronicles the rich biography of the founder and carrier of the GCI vision and critically examines the complex organisational structure as well as religious, social, economic and political doctrines that impregnate both thought and actions of adherents of GCI.

Dr. Essien pays strong attention to social and economic contexts in evaluating the cosmology of GCI and its ability to survive in an aggressive religious marketplace where competition and the search for relevance determines which church flourishes and which withers. The findings documented here are not necessarily culture specific; they are as relevant to Annang society as they are to Yoruba, Akan or lgbo societies of the 21st century Nigeria. Herein lies the enduring significance of this book. This work is an important addition to the genre of African Pentecostal historiography and the discourse on Pentecostalism and social change as well as the interface between Faith and Development in developing societies. As scholars grapple with the new Pentecsotal ethic and socio-economic development in Africa and elsewhere, this book is a timely contribution to the growing body of literature seeking to understand and explain the place of religious economies in economic capitalism in the era of complex processes of globalisation.

Dr. Phil. Asonzeh F.-K. Ukah,
Lehrstuhl fur Religionswissenschaft,
Universitat Bayreuth
Bayreuth/Germany

Prof. Anthonia Essien

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Anthonia M. Essien, HHCJ, is a sociologist of religion and Professor at the University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria. She obtained her first degree from the University of Cross River State, and an MA (1992) and a PhD (1997) from the University of lbadan, Nigeria. She has published articles in learned journals in Nigeria and abroad. Her interest in female empowerment led her to the founding of a Non-Government Organisation, Human Empowerment and Development Project (HEMADEP). She is in collaboration, with some international organisations for the promotion of female empowerment in Nigeria. She is widely travelled for academic research and conferences to such countries as United Kingdom, the United States of America, Uganda,: Ethiopia, Belgium, Ghana, South Africa, Republic of Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Switzerland. She is from Osurua, lkot Ekpene LGA, Nigeria.
Visit her personal knowledgebase vis www.anthoniaessien.com.ng to get to know more about her and have open access to majority of her works.

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