Archibald Patterson

One of the most remarkable stories of the Anglican church is the beginnings of the Angolan Anglican church, dating back to 1910. It was founded by an Anglican layman from Liverpool who went out to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in doing so, inadvertently sowed the seeds for the beginnings of the Anglican Church in Angola.

Inspired by missionaries, Archibald was a layman from St Clement’s Toxteth, Liverpool. He set off for Africa in 1910 and began preaching the Gospel, supported by a few members from St Clement’s Church. Arriving in North of Angola in 1925 in what is now Uige, Archibald established the North Angola Mission. He built schools and churches, taught carpentry and literacy and how to plant coffee. He trained teachers and pastors, sometimes helped by other missionaries from various countries. Many thousands came to faith because of his preaching and he baptised thousands.

Archibald returned to England during the Second World War and in 1946 married Alice Rankin whom he had known for many years. After the war, they went back to Angola and worked together until 1961 when there was a rebellion against the Portuguese authority. Then in 1961, with the country in the midst of a war for independence Archibald and Alice were expelled.

They left the country finally in 1975 knowing there were 60,000 members of the church and 300 churches established, with the North Angolan Mission in existence. Archibald’s dream had always been to set up an independent indigenous church and although later the church split in three different ways, today there are still three thriving denominations, derived from Archibald’s work with the North Angola Mission. One of these is the Anglican Church.

At the age of 83 after his wife had died, Archie went back to Angola and was welcomed by a crown of 10,000 people at the airport. He stayed for nine months but by then Angola was sliding into civil war and so he was hurried out of the country.

Today still many Angolans look back with gratitude to Archibald, seeing themselves as his spiritual children. Bishop Andre himself was baptised by Archibald aged 2. In 1990, the first priest was ordained and the Church became part of the Diocese of Lebombo, Mozambique and then in 2002, Angola became a diocese in the Church of the Province of South Africa and its first Bishop was appointed in 2003. All this began from one man following the call to preach the Gospel.