Doering, Alma (1878-1959)
Alma Doering, an early leader in the Congo Inland Mission (later known as the Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission), was born 18 April 1878 in Chicago, IL. Her parents were German Lutheran immigrants; her father's name was William. She attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and became a deaconess from the Bethany Deaconess Home in Brooklyn, NY. She began her missionary work 1898, as she later wrote, "in Chicago, the frontier back wood, mining districts and Indian reservations of the Lake Superior region." She d. 12 July 1959.
Her foreign missionary career included service in the Belgian Congo (1900-1904) among the Bafioti people under the Swedish Missionary Society; in British East Africa among the Bantu (1906-1910) under the Africa Inland Mission (which was supported by the Central Conference Mennonite Church and Defenseless Mennonites [Evangelical Mennonite Church]); and in the Belgian Congo under the Congo Inland Mission (1911-1925) and the Unevangelized Tribes Mission (UTM), which she founded (1925-1953). Her work for the Congo Inland Mission included fundraising and missionary recruitment in North America (1910-1912, 1919-1923) and in Europe (1912-1919), as well as field work at the Mukedi station among the Bampendi people, 19231925. Early in her career she received the Bantu name "Malembe," meaning "peace."
In 1905 Alma Doering addressed annual sessions of both the Central Conference Mennonite Church (which later became part of the Central District [General Conference Mennonite Church]) and the Defenseless Mennonite Church (later known as the Evangelical Mennonite Church), encouraging mission work under Mennonite sponsorship. In 1910 she began promoting independent Mennonite missions in Africa jointly sponsored by the Defenseless and Central Conference Mennonites. She resigned from the Congo Inland Mission after conflict with the governing board concerning the goals and identity of the mission. In 1955 she founded a vacation and retirement center for missionaries in St. Petersburg, FL. Her writings include pamphlets and articles setting forth her missions philosophy. Central to her missions philosophy was the idea of a self-propagating church in the Congo.
Springer, Nelson and A. J. Klassen, compilers, Mennonite Bibliography, 1631-1961, 2 vols. Scottdale PA, Herald Press, 1977: 434.
Doering, Alma E. Leopard Spots or God's Masterpiece Which? Cleveland OH: "Malembe" Publisher, 1916: 3-14.
Juhnke, James C. A People of Mission: A History of General Conference Mennonite Overseas Missions. Newton KS: Faith and Life, 1979: 67-70.
Weaver, William B. Thirty-Five Years in the Congo. Chicago IL: Congo Inland Mission, 1945: 70-76, 79, 96-97, 103, 117-18, 171, 189, 207.
Weaver, William B. History of the Central Conference Mennonite Church. Danvers IL: Author, 1926: 163-66.
Irvine, Cecilia, compilation, The Church of Christ in Zaire: A Handbook of Protestant Churches, Missions and Communities 1878-1978. Indianapolis IN: Author, 1978: 70, 105-106, 107-108.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 243. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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