Bringing the Kingdom to the city: mission and the place-making practices among Kenyan Pentecostals in London

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Kenyan Pentecostals in London (re)frame their migration as a “mission” to bring the United Kingdom back into the Kingdom of God. Focusing on the case of one church founded in the diaspora, this article examines how the pastor and church members try to realize this mission by exploring the kind of place they imagine God’s Kingdom to be and their efforts to create it in London. The “spatial turn” in studies of religion has followed two general trajectories, broadly referred to as the politics and the poetics of space. Studies of Pentecostal placemaking in particular have examined how Pentecostals use church-planting as a strategy of territorialization, by which they make their presence seen and felt in specific localities, as well as how they phenomenologically “do” space. This article contributes to these discussions by elucidating a particular form of sociality as an important aspect of religious placemaking. In doing so, I argue that Pentecostal projects of self-making and placemaking converge in what I refer to as “socializing space.” At the same time, through its focus on an independent church, the article extends our understanding of African diasporic churches beyond the well-studied and -resourced transnational African Pentecostal networks and megachurches. [Pentecostalism; Placemaking; London; Kenya; African Diaspora].

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-54
Number of pages21
JournalCity and Society
Volume31
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2019