NZASR Conference 2018, NZASR Conference 2015

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Passports as 'Sacred ritual tokens': Ghanaian Neo-Pentecostal churches and international migrations
Dorcas Dennis

Last modified: 2015-07-06

Abstract


The last three decades have witnessed the proliferation of African Pentecostal Christianity (APC) in Europe, North America and recently Australia. Consequently, some of these Pentecostal churches are gradually occupying a crucial niche in Africa and its diaspora in the West as the specialists in the provision of spiritual empowerment in the process of international migrations. These churches are constructing a religiosity that is focused on the use of travel documents as 'sacred ritual tokens' to invoke the manifestation of international migrations to the West.

In this fieldwork-based paper, I will demonstrate how a neo-Pentecostal church in Ghana and its diaspora extension in Australia, known as the 'Power Chapel Worldwide,' carry out what I refer to as a 'migration-centered religiosity.' In this religiosity, passports achieve 'Sacred status,' as the church uses the passports of its members as sacred ritual tokens to invoke the manifestations of international connections, access to cross boundaries and the granting of traveling visas whenever applied.


Keywords


International migration; Ritual; Token; Religiosity