Núñez, “Faith Healing, Migration and Gendered Conversions”

Núñez, Lorena.  2015.  Faith Healing, Migration and Gendered Conversions in Pentecostal Churches in Johannesburg.  In, Healing and Change in the City of Gold: Case Studies of Coping and Support in Johannesburg.  Ingrid Palmary, Brandon Hamber, and Lorena Núñez, eds.  London: Springer.  Pp. 149-168.

Excerpt: The study looks at the experiences of migrant congregants and pastors in Turffontein, south of Johannesburg.  The area has undergone a process of transformation along with successive migratory flows.  Originally populated by Afrikaans, Jewish, and Portuguese communities, in the post-apartheid period the area has began to receive immigrants from various African countries.  Along with these new migrant groups migrant-initiated churches proliferated, with the most numerous being Nigerian and Congolese Pentecostal churches.  Twenty three in-depth interviews were conducted with both migrant congregants and pastors in these two churches (one Nigerian and one Congolese).  In addition, participatory observation was conducted in order to better understand the processes of indoctrination and initiation that migrants – as well as local participants – undergo in order to be delivered and ultimately healed.  This chapter examines the responses offered by these two churches to their migrant congregants in their search for healing.  It specifically considers the relationship between the healing work conducted by the church and changes or continuities in gender notions and practices among migrant congregations.