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Rituals and Worship

Sacred Time

AICs follow a Christian religious calendar, often adding dates to it to commemorate important events in the lives of their founders.

Sacred Space

For some AICs, the birthplace of their founder is a sacred site, a "Zion" or "New Jerusalem." The church's headquarters are located there and it is where religious festivals, ceremonies, and pilgrimages occur.

Rites and Ceremonies

Rituals are performed to mark each stage of a person's life (e.g. birth, coming of age, marriage, and death). Drumming and dancing may be used, possibly to stimulate possession by the Holy Spirit.

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

AICs may follow the worship structure of their Christian denomination, but often conduct services in local African languages. Members pray and fast regularly, usually abstaining from pork and perhaps also tobacco and alcohol.


The symbolic systems of AICs are complex, combining western Christian symbolic meanings with local African ones. Water, fire, crucifixes, and the staffs are important symbols in many AICs.