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Church of Christ - Harris Mission (Harrist Church)

Church Family :
Based in : Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire)
Present in :
Membership : 197,515
Pastors :
Congregations : 750
Member Of :
Associate Member Of :
WCC Member Since : 1998

(Eglise du Christ - Mission Harris, dite Eglise Harriste)

The Harrist Church has its origins in the work of an evangelist and prophet from Liberia, William Wade Harris, who preached the gospel in the coastal areas of what is now Ivory Coast, in the years 1913-15. He was expelled by the colonial power, which saw his activities as dangerous. In 1928, a delegation from the communities of believers which had grown out of his preaching visited the Prophet Harris in Liberia, and received his blessing to continue his work. They called the church Church of Christ - Harris Mission. Since that time the Harrist Church has gradually taken its religious and spiritual place among the churches in the country, and in the sub-region. It is present in several neighbouring countries, and is actively involved in questions of environment and development. Each year in July, the church organizes "The Spiritual Week of the Environment".

The Harrist Church confesses Jesus Christ as God and Saviour, baptizes in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and regards the holy scriptures (the Bible) as the only reference in doctrine and faith. Holy communion is celebrated on the Christian feast days, and on other important days of the church calendar. Each local congregation is governed by a church council, presided over by a preacher. In each local church, the college of apostles is in charge of administrative, material and financial matters. In all, there are 8000 apostles (men and women) in the 750 local congregations. The head of the Harrist Church is the patriarch, who is the spiritual leader. The Harrist Church is a founding member of the Forum of Religious Confessions in Ivory Coast.

In 2000, the extraordinary general assembly decided 1) to modify the name of the church (see above), and 2) to dissolve the National Harrist Committee and replace it with the presidency of the church. The assembly also appointed the leadership of the church, of which the patriarch is the president.