Church of Central Africa Presbyterian

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St Michael and All Angels is a CCAP church in Blantyre.

The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) is a Presbyterian denomination. It consists of five synods: one in Zambia (Zambia Synod), one in Zimbabwe (Harare Synod) and three in MalawiLivingstonia Synod in the north of the country, Nkhoma Synod in the centre, and Blantyre Synod in the south.

The CCAP is the largest Protestant denomination in Malawi.[1]


Following the arrival of David Livingstone, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. In 1875, the Free Church of Scotland established itself in northern Malawi with headquarters in Livingstonia, while in 1876 the Church of Scotland set up a mission in Blantyre. In 1889 the Cape Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa began work in central Malawi. Initially its base was Mvera, but it later relocated to Nkhoma;[2] these three missions were the start of the three CCAP synods in Malawi.

In 1911 the Livingstonia and Blantyre Synods agreed to join together to form the CCAP[3] although, because of World War I, this union did not take place until 17 September 1924;[3] the CCAP at that time had 28 ministers (about half of whom were African) and 32 elders (almost all of whom were African).[3]

In 1926, the formerly Dutch Reformed Nkhoma Synod joined the CCAP;[4] the Harare Synod joined in 1965,[5] while the Lundazi Synod (now called the Zambia Synod) joined in 1984.[6]

In 1993, the Blantyre Synod issued a statement which acknowledged historically close ties with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) so that "the church gradually lost its ability to admonish or speak pastorally to the government"[7] and indicated that they did "not want to make the same mistake at this time in order to ensure that the church retains its prophetic voice throughout the coming years of our country’s history."[7]

In 1998, some Charismatic members split from the CCAP to form the Presbyterian Church of Malawi (PCM).[8]

The CCAP entered into a high-profile public feud with Malawian Second Vice President Chakufwa Chihana in 2004 after Chihana told the church not to "meddle" in politics.[9]


The Nkhoma Synod have adopted the Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dort as their doctrinal standards;[10] the Zambia Synod subscribes to these and to the Gallican Confession, Scots Confession, Second Helvetic Confession, Thirty-Nine Articles, and Westminster Confession.[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World: 21st Century Edition (Paternoster, 2001), p. 419.
  2. ^ Overview of the worldwide reformed church: Malawi (Africa)
  3. ^ a b c T. Jack Thompson, Christianity in Northern Malaŵi: Donald Fraser's missionary methods and Ngoni culture, BRILL, 1995, ISBN 90-04-10208-6, pp. 211–213.
  4. ^ Robert Benedetto and Donald K. McKim, Historical Dictionary of the Reformed Churches, 2nd ed, Scarecrow Press, 2010, ISBN 0-8108-5807-X, p. 443.
  5. ^ Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) - Harare Synod
  6. ^ Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) - Zambia Synod
  7. ^ a b Paul Gifford, The Christian Churches and the Democratisation of Africa, BRILL, 1995, ISBN 90-04-10324-4, p. 103.
  8. ^ Rhodian G. Munyenyembe, Christianity and Socio-cultural Issues: The Charismatic Movement and Contextualization of the Gospel in Malawi, African Books Collective, 2011, ISBN 99908-87-52-7, p. 6.
  9. ^ "Chakufwa Chihana". The Scotsman. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  10. ^ Walter L. Brown, The development in self-understanding of the CCAP Nkhoma Synod as Church during the first forty years of autonomy: an ecclesiological study,[permanent dead link] University of Stellenbosch, 2005.
  11. ^ CCAP Zambia - What We Believe Archived 2013-08-27 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]