Monday, 5 November 2012

Sunday Service

Since many my readers are from my home church I think that it is important to share with you what a common service is like here. I will use an example from this past weekend.  My friend Caferine took me to Thika, a town outside of Nairobi (about 36 kilometres) for a baptism. We arrived at the AIC (African Independent Church) about 10 AM to the sound of energetic singing, drumming and dancing. The singing and dancing featured children, a women’s group and elders from the church and is my favorite part of the service. I wish I could take the children back with me to share with you their beautiful music. It is not like at home where you read from the hymnals, the congregation just knows the songs and I just danced and clapped to their inspirational music.

After about an hour of singing or more then it was time for visitor’s introduction.  This time is when all visitors or friends of the church go to the front and introduce themselves. Take note that everyone but me spoke Swahili or Kikuyu so I am not even sure when I spoke the audience understood anything I said.  After, from what I understand, the church asked for offering in honor of the children being baptized to go towards the church.  Concluding the baptism (which was very similar to ours just longer) the preacher or ‘bishop’ here delivered his message. From the translator I understood that his message was simple, ‘that if you believe in God he will provide for you wealth, possibly not monetarily but through another measure.’  At churches here, an entire Sunday is spent worshiping and praising God, I admire this quality because at home if church goes five minutes over an hour then people get restless. Something after being here and experiencing these worship styles is hard to understand.The advantage is that congregations are truly family and know one another. It's like a church picnic every Sunday.
                After the actual service, there had to be food. It is a Kenyan tradition to eat and eat a lot! The entire church came for rice, chapatti, beans and potato- carrot soup. It was great, the entire day was filled with joy and celebration of the baptism. Concluding the event was tea time where the group gathered around the circle and introduced themselves and the preacher from earlier would end with prayer.  The preacher said that their church was blessed because a white (mizungu) girl was there worshiping with them.  I should tell you that I cannot go unnoticed here; all eyes were constantly on me especially by the elders and children. The people in Thika were grateful for my presence and they welcomed me with open arms as I have been everywhere I have gone. I hope this gives you a bit of insight into worship. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.  

Next weekend I am going to my friend Caferine’s grandmother’s funeral. She found out just yesterday that she was burned alive in a house fire and the causes are unknown. I hope to share this experience with you also. 

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