June 30, 1960
On June 30, 1960, the Congo became an independent nation. The American Presbyterian Congo Mission (APCM) had prepared by appointment of a Church-Mission Committee composed of 25 Congolese Church leaders and ten missionaries, to work out the division of responsibilities to be carried by the Church (the Eglise Presbyterienne du Kasai), those to be handled by the Mission and those to be handled jointly by both bodies.
At this time, the APCM had 161 missionaries, the largest staff that it would ever have, with eleven stations scattered across the Kasai region providing the centers for evangelistic, educational and medical work. Within the situation of political instability that followed independence, the Church suffered serious disruption of its life and work. As one observer wrote: “Christians have been and are being subjected for the first time to large-scale persecution and testing, arising out of the necessity to make a choice between tribal loyalties and the atrocities often associated with them, and loyalty to Jesus Christ.” (Photo: signing of Congo independence, Library of Congress.)