From Scandinavian Missionary Activity to an African local Church: A History of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (1955 to 2018)




Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK), history of Scandinavian missions, East Africa, nationalisation of churches, post-colonial Kenya


This article reconstructs the history of a Pentecostal denomination in Kenya that was established by Scandinavian missionaries from two missionary agencies, namely the Norwegian Pentecostal Mission (NPM) and Swedish Free Mission (SFM), during the early 1950s. It relies on oral narratives by early African clerics, missionaries and church leaders as well as archival materials such as minutes, correspondence and reports to argue that the 60-year history of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK) may be periodised into three major epochs: the period of beginnings (1955–1984); the period of collaboration (1984–1996); and the period of nationalisation (1997–2018). It further contests that the present challenges for the church, such as the schism between Swedish and Norwegian sections, financial instability and the collapse of its national institutions, as well as an over emphasis on rural evangelism and a failure to penetrate the Kenyan urban life, are directly linked to its Scandinavian heritage.


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Author Biography

Stephen Muoki Joshua, University of South Africa Pwani University, Kenya

University of South Africa

Research fellow: Institute of Religion and Theology of Unisa

Pwani University, Kenya