The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) is the largest Protestant denomination in Malawi, where around 70% of the population claim membership of a Christian church. In Malawi, CCAP has some 500 congregations with around 600,000 members. CCAP has a total of five Synods, three in Malawi, one in Zambia and one in Zimbabwe.
History of the CCAP
CCAP is a member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Reformed Ecumenical Council and the World Council of Churches and has partnerships with the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Presbyterian Church USA, as well as the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI).
Relations between CCAP and PCI began in the mid-1950s. Rev. Bill Jackson, the first missionary from PCI arrived in Malawi in 1958 to work alongside CCAP. By 1964 there were 14 PCI missionaries serving in Malawi.
Over 100 PCI missionaries have gone to serve the people of Malawi and in recent years many more individuals and many teams from PCI congregations have made short mission trips spreading the gospel in both word and action.
CCAP has three autonomous Synods in Malawi (Blantyre, Livingstonia and Nkhoma), while the Synods of Zambia and Harare complete the membership of the CCAP's General Synod (General Assembly). Each Synod runs its daily affairs independently of the others.
- Livingstonia Synod in the Northern Region. Synod HQ is in Mzuzu with 'mission stations' at Livingstonia, Ekwendeni and Embangweni.
- Nkhoma Synod is in the Central Region. Synod HQ is at Nkhoma Mission, founded by the Dutch Reformed Church (South Africa).
- Blantyre Synod is in the Southern Region. Synod HQ is at Blantyre Mission with 'mission stations' at Blantyre, Mulanje, Zomba and Domasi.
- Harare Synod in Zimbabwe is the result of witness among Malawians living in Zimbabwe.
- Zambia Synod in Zambia, formed in 1984, includes Lusaka, the Copperbelt and the Lundazi area.
Evangelism and Christian Training
The three Malawian Synods have programmes of Evangelism and Christian Training, and train ministers at Zomba Theological College.
CCAP is growing rapidly and much of the work in local congregations (including preaching, visiting the sick and funerals) is carried out by elders and lay people with little or no training.
Education and chaplaincy work amongst students
The education of its children and young people has always been a priority of the Church in Malawi and today thousands receive their primary and secondary education in schools run by the churches.
CCAP places a high priority on work among students in secondary schools, colleges and universities.
Around 40% of Malawi's healthcare needs are met by the churches, including the CCAP's five hospitals located at Livingstonia, Ekwendeni, Embangweni, Nkhoma and Mulanje – each being responsible for a network of dispensaries and primary healthcare clinics.
Development and Relief
Development and Relief work is a growing ministry in the Synods and is taking place in both urban and rural areas. All three Synods in Malawi have Development and Relief Departments that form part of the Church's ministry to their communities.