African Independent Churches (AICs) are to large extent paperless churches. This means
that for the biggest part liturgical documents does not exist and that a study of their worship
must entail a study of their enacted rites which will include recordings and transcriptions
of verbal expressions such as sermons. This article focuses on AIC worship in South Africa,
with special attention to the role of so-called water rituals. In this article the main aim is
an attempt to discern what the role of these water rituals are in the worship of this AIC and
in the generation of social. Thus, after a description of the ritual data, the water rituals are
analysed by making use of both anthropological and theological theory, especially the work
of Mary Douglas and Gerhardus van der Leeuw.
This article was first presented as a paper at the 23rd Conference of Societas Liturgica in Reims, France which focussed on Baptism.