AMSF Biography: Lawrence “Larry” Henderson

Lawrence “Larry” Henderson and his wife Muriel “Ki” Henderson worked as missionaries in Angola from 1947 to 1969 with the United Church Board for World Ministries. Two daughters, Kathy and Nancy, moved to Angola with the family in 1947 and 2 sons, David and Mark, were born in Angola. Until 1960, the Hendersons lived in the coastal city of Lobito, where they developed the church with Jesse Chipenda. In 1960 they moved to Bunjei and later they worked in Dondi and Nova Lisboa. For several years in the 1960’s Larry was Secretary-General of Angola’s Alliança EvangĂ©lica, based in Luanda, and spent much time mediating between the Protestant churches and the Portuguese government. With the advent of the Angolan independence movement, Larry was convinced that the time had come for Angolans to take control of their churches and missions.

In 1969, the Hendersons moved to New York and Larry worked at the UCBWM first as Associate Secretary for Africa and later Secretary for Latin America. In 1977 they moved to Florida and served 2 churches there before retiring. In 1979 he published his first book, Angola: Five Centuries of Conflict (Cornell Univ. Press, 1979). After retiring in 1986, the Hendersons moved to Lisbon for 5 years. During that time, he taught at the Presbyterian seminary and worked on his second book, A Igreja Em Angola. Um Rio Com Varias Correntes (Lisbon: Ed.Alem-Mar, 1990). It was later published in English as The Church In Angola (Pilgrim Press, 1992). His final book was a biography of and tribute to Jesse Chipenda, titled Development and the Church in Angola: Chipenda The Trailblazer (Acton, Kenya, 1999/2000). He also wrote a booklet in 1986 titled Galangue: The Unique Story of a Mission Station in Angola Proposed, Supported and Staffed by Black Americans. In 1991 Ki and Larry moved to Durham, NC.

Larry graduated from the College of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, with a major in History and received a graduate degree in Theology from Yale Divinity School as well as a M.A. in Anthropology from Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT. He collected books and papers throughout his life, especially those related to Angola. At the end of his life, his collection of materials was donated to the Special Collections in the Dimond Library at the University of New Hampshire. They are available to scholars and others interested in Angola.

Angola remained the focus of Larry’s life until he passed away in 2003.