Water rituals as a source of (Christian) life in an African Independent Church: To be healed and (re)connected.

  • Cas Wepener
  • Bethel Müller
Keywords: Worship, Ritual, African Independent Church, Social Capital, Participatory Observation


African Independent Churches (AICs) are to a large extent paperless churches. This means that for the biggest part liturgical documents do not exist and that a study of their worship must entail a study of their enacted rites which will include recordings and transcriptions of verbal expressions such as sermons. This article focuses on AIC worship in South africa, with special attention to the role of so-called water rituals. In this article the main aim is an attempt to discern what the role of these water rituals are in the worship of this AIC and in the generation of social capital. Thus, after a description of the ritual data, the water rituals are analysed by making use of both anthropological and theological theory, especially the work of Mary Douglas and Gerhardus van der Leeuw.