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3rd Annual Symposium


In August this year, the Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre (APSC), Alphacrucis College and the Religion and Society Research cluster, Western Sydney University will be jointly convening the third annual symposium on the study of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. The theme this year is ‘Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianities and Migration.’ Our keynote speaker will be Associate Professor Richard Vokes (Dept. Anthropology, University of Western Australia). This annual conference is grounded in history and anthropology disciplines, fostering cross-disciplinary dialogue with regard to the growth, movement and influence of PCC’s globally.

Over the past few decades, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity (PCC) has exploded in the Global South and grown considerably in the Global North. Much of this growth is fuelled by networks of megachurches, the mobility of community leaders across diasporic networks, migration and (mass and digital) media. While (traditionally) missionaries would travel in a North-to-South direction, more recently, megachurches from the Global South have moved horizontally, across to other developing countries, and also made inroads into the Global North in efforts of reverse missionisation. Such attempts to missionise to locals in the Global North have been largely (though not wholly) unsuccessful and churches have turned their focus to migrants from the Global South. Many studies have shown that migrants, who were not attached to PCCs before migration, join churches in the diaspora as they offer them a home away from home. Meanwhile, diasporic churches also face difficulties keeping these (as well as second generation) migrants, since they may prefer local churches in an effort to integrate. In this symposium we probe these themes and are seeking papers on the following topics: 

- Historical developments

- Missionary activities and migration 

- Translocal and transnational PCC networks 

- Translocal and transnational families and PCC

- Young migrants and PCC

- Second generation migration and PCC

- Gender, PCC and migration 

- City infrastructures and diasporic churches 

- Theological themes and migration 

- Cultural translation, negotiation, adaptation of migrant churches

- PCC, media, music, information communication 

- Technologies and migration 

- Material culture and migrants' lived experiences in PCC churches

- Aesthetics and embodied practices

- Immobility, borders and PCC. 

Date: Friday 2 August 2019 

Where: Level 9, Parramatta City Campus, WSU 

169 Macquarie Street, Parramatta. 


Abstracts Due: 10 April 2019 (title, 250-word abstract, short bio)

Queries and Submissions:

Dr Kathleen Openshaw  


2nd Annual PCC Symposium 


Alphacrucis College hosted the Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities in Oceania on August 17th 2018, a symposium convened by the Religion and Society Research Cluster, School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University and the Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre, Alphacrucis College. This year, we heard from ten speakers who variously explored the growth, movement and influence of Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities in Oceania. It considered PCCs as a powerful cultural force within Australasian and Oceanic communities and their role in reconfiguring spatial, social, political and cultural relationships. While the causative influences of PCCs in Oceania were contemplated, the symposium also looked at the overarching cultural, economic and political milieus in which PCCs are embedded. Additionally, a consideration of PCC’s broader transnational scope of influence enriched this cross-cultural and interdisciplinary dialogue.


SESSION 1: Indigenisation and PCC

Hundreds of thousands of people in diverse societies in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG) found their lives irrevocably disrupted by the intrusion of Europeans, and colonial administrative powers following the end of World War 2.  Among these societies, were the various groups that constitute the Enga people, who now experienced the immense cultural change triggered by the insertion of colonial powers, and their concomitant institutions including western Christian mission organisations.  Over the next generation, church and mission agencies pioneered medical, educational and community development services among the Enga people, as well as evangelising communities and planting churches.  This paper will focus on one Pentecostal mission agency, the Apostolic Church Mission (ACM), who pioneered one of the largest indigenous Pentecostal movements in PNG.  In particular it will focus on the historical processes and dynamics around the emergence of indigenous leadership that would own and contextualise their faith.

Contextualisation, the process of the Christian faith’s interfacing with, and grounding in a specific socio-cultural context, has come into greater focus since the late 20th century.  However, while much has been written in the literature on the contextualization of Bible translation, theology, and worship forms, proportionately little has been written on the indigenisation of Christian leadership dynamics and authority structures.  Have cross-cultural Christian workers sought to authentically map receptor cultures’ traditional leadership values, patterns and styles?  Have they equally critically questioned their inserted leadership and ecclesiastical models and attempted to measure power-relations?  From the research findings of this case study, a model is proposed that attempts to measure the ‘appropriateness’ of a presenting example of indigenous Melanesian Pentecostal leadership.

Until recently, little attention has been paid to Australia's Indigenous movements of Pentecostals. However, Power in the Spirit Ministries is an influential movement that stretches from Queensland up through Cape York, over into the Torres Strait and Papua New Guinea. Many of its leaders are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This movement is colloquially called "The Third Day". Similar to various Neo-Pentecostal groups, this movement offers a distinct branding, language and structures of affect that maintain its influence among adherents. This presentation will explore some of the antecedents of this movement, as well the important roles it has played in mediating conflict between Pentecostals and other groups within communities. Due to its flexibility and adaptability, its orthodoxy is brought into question in various circles. This paper will explore these themes alongside the responses of this truly indigenous Australian Neo-Pentecostal expression to the particular event of the 2014 Cairns massacre, acknowledging the outcomes for participants.

This paper explores the role of Charismatic Catholic Renewal (CCR) in Papua New Guinea (PNG). CCR is a spiritual movement within the Catholic Church emphasising the availability of the power and the many gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer. Although centred in Rome, it consists of thousands of local prayer groups and communities, as well as special ministries and services in almost every country around the world, including in PNG. In May 1985, the PNG Catholic Bishops’ Conference approved the charismatic movement as one of the authentic movements for spiritual renewal of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea. However, the conference stressed this renewal to be made “not independent of, or even worse, outside of, the church”. In my paper, I discuss the CCR in the context of the continuing academic focus on Pentecostal movements, and what Catholicism and Catholic charismatic movements may contribute to discussions about lived religion, socio-cultural change, transnational networks, and how CCR invites reassessment of centre-periphery and local-global dynamics in the contemporary world. I will do so by focusing on various Marian devotions in Bougainville (PNG) that show the power and force of Catholic Charismatic movements in the context of Bougainville’s civil war.

SESSION 2: Keynote Address

Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity has been one of the most powerful cultural forces in local communities throughout Oceania in the last generation. The end of European empires and intensification of urbanisation and international migration gave momentum to this evangelical revival. In this talk, I explore both the destructive and creative power of these revivalist waves, focusing on Solomon Islands where many religious currents have come together and travelled onward with increased force. In many places, Pentecostal and Charismatic movements smashed apart the certainties of communities centred on a single Christian church, exacerbating a broader sense of disintegration and chaos. Yet these movement also forged new connections across the boundaries of villages, provinces, nations, and denominational affiliations. In the midst of an inter-ethnic conflict, a shared national evangelical culture opened surprising spaces for envisioning a shared future. The proliferation of new institutions, ideas, and forms of worship has created deeper religious pluralism throughout Oceania, dissociating ties of kin and community from faith commitment. This has, I suggest, opens new possibilities for a movement away from the Christian tradition toward new global or local religions or even, perhaps, away from formal religion entirely.

SESSION 3: Part I: Historical Transnational Connections

In a recent essay Peter Elliott challenged the idea that Australian Pentecostalism should be dated from 1909 and Janet Lancaster’s Good News Hall.  He argues instead that “Australian Pentecostal beginnings should be recalibrated to 1853, with the arrival of representatives of the Catholic Apostolic Church in Melbourne…[which] continually taught and practiced the charismatic gifts in Australia throughout the second half of the nineteenth century.”  Analogous to this is the idea that North American Pentecostalism originated either in Topeka, in 1901, or else in Los Angeles, in 1906.  The present essay will argue that Elliott’s point can be generalized beyond Australia, and it will seek to support three claims: (1) that a broadly diffused Irvingite-Dowieite form of Charismatic Christianity antedated the twentieth-century beginnings of North American “Pentecostalism” by several decades; (2) that this Irvingite-Dowieite movement existed in several English-speaking regions of the world (e.g., Scotland, England, Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Australia); and (3) that an acknowledgement of this Irvingite-Dowieite movement ought to provoke a general reconsideration of Pentecostal-Charismatic historiography.  One might ask whether the term “Pentecostal” requires reevaluation.  Why would the Irvingite-Dowieite movement not be recognized as an integral part, but only as an anticipation, of a movement commencing shortly after 1900?  There may be several reasons—unawareness on the part of North American Pentecostals of developments elsewhere, a tendency to overemphasize events occurring near oneself, the lack of Pentecostal sympathy for a “high church” movement such as the Catholic Apostolic Church, and individualistic interpretations of Spirit-baptism.  The result of this is that Dowie, though said to be “never a Pentecostal” (Barry Chant) was nonetheless credited by early Pentecostals in Australia and America as a major influence. The Irvingite-Dowieite lineage did not end with the emergence of Pentecostalism, but bore fruit in the Zionist Churches of southern Africa, reappeared in the Latter Rain Movement in Canada in 1948, and—through the Latter Rain—influenced the rise of the mainline Charismatic Renewal of the 1960s and 1970s.  This alternate lineage for Spirit-filled Christianity does not detract from the importance of so-called classical Pentecostalism, with its astounding evangelistic successes around the world.  Nonetheless, one possible conclusion is that classical Pentecostalism is best described not as a “first wave” but rather as a “second wave” movement.  Moreover, the commonly described “second wave” of the Spirit in the mainline charismatic renewal might better be described as a “third wave.” And this third “wave,” like the “first wave,” had something to do with the little-recognized Irvingite-Dowieite lineage of charismatic Christianity.

In 1815, Rev. Samuel Marsden founded in Parramatta, Australia, the first seminary and trade training school for young Māori migrant leaders, as a strategy to “excite all their national powers to improve their own country”. In turn, those students brought heightened cultural understanding to the colonial settlement. There is something about migration (whether seasonal or permanent) that encourages reciprocity. Some scholars have explored the trans-Tasman interconnectedness of several mainline denominations, however, a similar exploration of Pentecostal ministry training is needed. Furthermore, whilst acknowledgement has been made regarding the role of some New Zealanders on Australian Pentecostalism, a more extensive catalogue of mutual influences needs to be considered. This paper reflects on Pentecostal ministry training of the past 100 years, which impacted missional work, church planting drives, worship styles, leadership practices and developments in Christian higher education. During the early twentieth century, Pentecostal denominations in Australia and New Zealand sought “a deeper co-operative fellowship.” By the 1960s, Australian pastors and educators founded the New Zealand Evangel and tract distribution ministry throughout the Pacific Islands. Latter Rain healing evangelists in New Zealand spread trans-Tasman charismatic influences through Bible College ministry. The church planting impetus was spurred on by Pentecostal pioneers, who led significant ministerial training institutions. By the 1980s, a new generation of New Zealand alumni leaders began to transform worship expressions and ecclesiological structures in Australia. Through cooperative higher education endeavours, contemporary leaders are continuing to shape Pentecostalism in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Part II: Contemporary Transnational Connections

For many diaspora communities around the world, music and cultural practices from their homelands provides a sense of continuity within foreign host cultures. For some people groups, especially those that have experienced colonisation, the process of migration to a new land can place a strain upon the connection to language, and therefore compromise the ability to connect with cultural identity.

This paper considers the role of music making in a Christian-Maori diaspora church in South West Sydney, where most congregants emigrated from New Zealand decades ago or were born and raised in Australia. This community practices song-writing by taking scriptures directly from Te Paipera Tapu, the Maori translation of the Bible, and sets them to songs in genres such as pop, reggae, haka and waiata-ā-ringa, or acculturated action songs. Whereas this practice is commonplace in New Zealand, the impact for this diaspora community in Sydney is unique. Some members of the church stated that their Christian faith prompts them to explore their Maoritanga (Maoriness), especially through expressions within the church. The affirmation of culture through faith, then, creates intersections of culture, music, and faith, and challenges the narrative of Christianity and colonisation being a destructive force upon culture. For this community, it is their Christianity which implores them to explore their cultural identity, and practice Christianity through their Maoriness.

New Zealand is one of the host countries of the reverse mission from the Global South to the Global North. Some of the African migrant initiated churches in the country
operate on ‘kingdom principles,’ focused on winning the nation of New Zealand for God. According to the transnational network of African Churches, Churches located in the capital of New Zealand–Wellington, such as the Christ for Salvation Ministries International (CFSMI) are strategically placed to initiate the re-evangelisation of the country because this is where governmental and political decisions concerning New Zealand are made. It is the belief of these churches that prayers waged through ‘strategic spiritual warfare,’ particularly by the churches in the capital will eventually lead to the successful litigation of governmental, legislative and judicial authority in favour of Christian believers in the ‘courts’ of heaven. This will translate into a physical takeover of these three arms of political authority, as political leaders will turn to God and by extension the citizenry. Based on ethnographic studies of the ministry of CFSMI, the introductory section of this paper provides the history of the Church. The second part examines the development of the ‘kingdom’ ministry and how these teachings are relayed in sermons, Bible studies, prayer meetings and conferences of the Church. The last section is an analysis of the ‘kingdom’ teaching in the context of church missions and evangelism. The paper demonstrates that CFSMI, like other African migrant churches, is not only focused on creating spiritual and physical welfare for migrants but is also engaged in both spiritual and mundane activities as a focal point to achieving its reverse mission goal.

SESSION 4: PCC in Contemporary Australia

After getting started early in the twentieth century, Pentecostalism was a very small part of the religious scene in Australia until the mid-1970s, but it suddenly began to grow rapidly and sustained that growth for at least two decades. This paper discusses the statistics of this growth (and its variations) and offers preliminary explanations for the main factors in that growth based on existing research and literature from participants and observers of the Pentecostal movements. The three main factors identified through this study are spiritual (the influence of the charismatic renewal and the “Latter Rain” movement), cultural (shifts in Australian society towards less organisational and religious loyalty and a search for more emotionally fulfilling forms of spirituality) and organisational (such as restructuring of existing Pentecostal groups, birth of new movements, strong leadership, contemporary styles of worship, strategic church planting and better training of ministers). The paper finishes by asking questions for further research.

The researcher looks at Australian Pentecostal Churches to identify whether Asian Pentecostal migrants joining their congregations have experienced a hearty welcome and inclusion into every aspect of church life from the Leadership downwards. Has integration taken place when Asian Pentecostal migrants join Australian Pentecostal Churches? How does the Australian church embrace all who come through the doors of a church even if they look and behave and have a lifestyle different from the average Anglo-Australian? Using a methodology of participant observation, interviews and questionnaires, she interviewed 60 first generation Pentecostal Asian migrants in 6 different Pentecostal Churches in South-Eastern Queensland to determine their experience of joining Australian Pentecostal churches. She also interviewed 10 small group leaders and 13 Pastors in these and other churches. The purpose of this research is to assist both the host churches and the migrant joining the church to embrace a mutual adaptation and accommodation that leads to integration in a mutual reciprocity and love. The data shows that where there is no ‘hospitality’, the Asian person may flee to a mono-cultural church of their own kind rather than integrate into a multi-ethnic or Anglo Church. “Hospitality” in this context may mean different things. The data also shows that most churches have no plans or programs to recognise or integrate migrants into their churches. She finds that some leaders do not recognise or accept differences in their congregations. She will also speak of her own experience as an Asian Christian joining Australian Pentecostal Churches and what she experienced. Integration in churches is a subject that is highly relevant for our time with many of the migrants coming into Australia and joining our churches, being Christians of Asian descent.


Until June 2016, Ian served as Vice President of Higher Education of Harvest Bible College, having served in a number of roles including Dean of Students and Academic Dean.  He established and directed the Intercultural Studies program @ Harvest for more than 15 years, developing courses of study on VET, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  His PhD was earned at Monash University’s School of Political and Social Inq1uiry, under Supervisors Emeritus Prof Gary D Bouma (Sociology), and Lecturer Matt Tomlinson (Anthropology) on cultural and religious change amongst the Enga people of Papua New Guinea. Ian is a Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society, and a past President and Secretary of the Australian Association for Mission Studies.  He currently supervises postgraduate research students, and is an external examiner for a number of colleges.

Tanya Riches is a senior lecturer and Masters course coordinator at Hillsong College. She is also a researcher at the Centre for Disability Studies, an affiliate of The University of Sydney. One of her research focuses is upon Australian Pentecostalism and its theology. Her co-edited volume with Tom Wagner entitled The Hillsong Movement Examined (2017) is presented as an intentional dialogue between attendees and non-religious scholars. She won the school award at Fuller Theological Seminary for her PhD dissertation on Aboriginal-led Pentecostalism, which will be released with Brill in 2018. 

Anna-Karina Hermkens is a researcher and lecturer working at the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is co-editor of “Moved by Mary. The Power of Pilgrimage in the Modern World” (Ashgate, 2009), and has written extensively on devotion to Mary in relation to gender dynamics, domestic violence, nationalism and the civil war in Bougainville. Her current research focuses on the impact of faith on resource development and eco-conflict.

Debra McDougall is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne, author of Engaging with Strangers: Love and violence in the rural Solomon Islands (2016, Berghahn), and co-editor (with Matt Tomlinson) of Christian Politics in Oceania (2013, Berghahn). Her current research explores how a language movement that emerged from a Bible translation project in the late 1990s has grown into a potentially powerful answer to some challenges of formal education. In this and other work, McDougall tracks the way that Christian narratives and theologies shape the way that ordinary people make sense of their past and envision their futures in Oceania, arguably most Christian region on earth.

Michael McClymond is Professor of Modern Christianity at Saint Louis University. He was educated at Northwestern University (B.A.), Yale University (M.Div.), and the University of Chicago (M.A., Ph.D.), and has held teaching or research appointments at Wheaton College (IL), Westmont College, the University of California–San Diego, Emory University, Yale University, and University of Birmingham (UK). He has written or edited works on Christian theology, comparative religions, and biblical studies, including Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth (Eerdmans, 2004) and—co-written with Gerald McDermott—The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2012). This last was chosen from more than 400 titles as Theology/Ethics “Book of the Year” by Christianity Today magazine. He edited the Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America (ABC-CLIO, 2007), and co-edited—with Lamin Sanneh of Yale—the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Christianity (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). He has done field investigation of Pentecostalism in Mozambique and in Brazil. In 2012, he was Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the Overseas Ministries Study Center. His latest monograph is The Devil’s Redemption: An Interpretation of the Christian Debate Over Universal Salvation (Baker Academic, 2018). He served as the Co-Chair of both the Evangelical Studies Group and the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements Group in the American Academy of Religion (AAR). An Anglican layperson, McClymond has been a leader in Global Day of Prayer, Habitat for Humanity, and Stepping Into the Light (a substance abuse recovery ministry in St. Louis). He is the single father of a college-aged daughter, Sarah, who is an art student.

Denise Austin is Director of Accreditation and Standards and Associate Professor of History at Alphacrucis College. She has published widely in the areas of Pentecostal history, Chinese Christian history and oral history. As Director of the Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre for six years, Denise received several Community Heritage Grants from the National Library of Australia for the preservation of the archival collection. Denise is an ordained minister with Australian Christian Churches and is Chair of the Theological Commission of Asia Pacific Theological Association.

Frederick Acheampong has a B.A. and MPhil. Degrees in Religious Studies from the University of Ghana-Legon, as well as a Certificate in Field Studies in Religious Studies from the University of Gavle in Sweden. Acheampong has recently submitted his PhD thesis for examination at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. This thesis focuses on the engagement between Ghanaian Pentecostals and political actors during the Fourth Republican era (1993-Present) of that country’s political history. 

Dr Jon Newton (PhD Deakin) is the Program Director for the Doctor of Ministry at Alphacrucis College. He is the author of The Revelation Worldview (Wipf. and Stock 2015), the editor of New Frontiers: Redefining Christian Ministry for 21st Century Contexts (Mosaic 2013) and the editor of the Journal of Contemporary Ministry. He and his wife also lead an ACC church in Hampton, Victoria.

Jasmine Pillay is of Tamil heritage hailing from Malaysia. She and her family migrated to Australia in 1986 to Perth, Western Australia becoming Australian citizens. In 2000 the family left for England where they resided for 9 years and became UK citizens. In 2009, they returned to Australia where they reside in the Gold Coast. Jasmine has an LL.B (Hons) as well as a Masters in Biblical Studies. She is currently a third year Doctoral Student with Alphacrucis transferring from Harvest Bible College. She is a licensed minister with the Rhema denomination and is a Bible teacher and an itinerant Minister as well as an elder in her church.






8:30am – 9: 15am



9:15am – 9:30am



Session 1:

Indigenisation and PCC


9:30am – 10am


Ian Grant

Alphacrucis College




10am – 10:30am


Tanya Riches

Hillsong College



10:30am – 11am


Anna-Karina Hermkens

Macquarie University  


Morning Tea


11am – 11:30am



Session 2:

Keynote Address


11:30am – 1pm


Debra McDougall

University of Melbourne




1pm – 2pm



Session 3:

Historical Transnational Connections


2pm – 2:30pm



Michael McClymond

Saint Louis University



2:30pm – 3pm


Denise Austin

Alphacrucis College



Contemporary Transnational Connections


3pm – 3:30pm


Shannon Said

Western Sydney University



3:30pm – 4pm


Frederick Achaempong

Victoria University of Wellington


Afternoon Tea


4pm – 4:30pm



Session 4:

PCC in

Contemporary Australia



4:30pm – 5pm


Jon Newton

Alphacrucis College



5pm – 5:30pm


Jasmine Pillay

Alphacrucis College




5:30pm – 5:45pm