Manual to Guide Small Christian Communities in Benin’s Cotonou Archdiocese Released

Logo of Benin's Archdiocese of Cotonou/ Credit: Archdiocese of Cotonou

The leadership of the Archdiocese of Cotonou in Benin has released a manual to guide the activities of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in its episcopal see.

The manual was formulated following reported “bleakness of monotonous meetings” in the Archdiocese, with a section of the faithful expressing the need for a document to guide their gatherings, the Archdiocesan Coordinator of the Commission of SCCs, Fr. Odilon Faladé, says in a May 25 report.  

“The need to draw up and publish a manual for Small Christian Communities (SCCs) was felt from the beginning of the process of revitalizing SCCs in the Archdiocese, on the initiative of Archbishop Roger Houngbédji,” Fr. Faladé says in the report published on the Archdiocese of Cotonou’s website

Making reference to Archbishop Houngbédji’s message in 2019, the Priest says, “The Church will only be able to give its full measure of Church-family if it branches out into communities that are small enough to allow for closer human relationships, through what we call SCCs.”  

He adds, “These communities needed to be accompanied and, in this accompaniment, they needed to be provided with a support.”


In the May 25 report, Fr. Faladé explains that the manual was created after consulting other episcopal sees, particularly the relevant persons in the Archdiocese of Abidjan in Ivory Coast.

“We approached the people in charge of the pastoral care of the SCCs in the Archdiocese of Abidjan, as well as those involved in ‘Service for a Better World’, the structure that accompanies the publication of the SCC manual for the whole of the Ivory Coast,” said the Cleric.

Following these consultations, Fr.  Faladé set up the organs for the drafting of the SCC manual (ORCC), which was headed by the Archdiocesan Director of the Catechetical Centre, Fr. Charles Allabi.

“At the ORCC, it was a question of conceiving and elaborating an accompanying document that would be like a manual for all Christians in all the SCCs of our Archdiocese,” Fr. Falade explains, adding that it was necessary to have a common approach.

The manual contains presentations of life experiences with thematic explanations and biblical extracts and the writings of St. Augustine on fraternal communion, Fr. Agapit Gbegnon who edited the SCC manual has said.

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According to Fr. Gbegnon, the revival of SCCs in the Archdiocese of Cotonou “is a pastoral challenge and a path of evangelization at the grassroots level that should not be neglected at all.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.