When i was young and under the care of my family(i still am, but pretend i’m completely independent),I was sent to Sunday School and Church Camp and Vacation Bible School as well as Adults’Service(Big Church) when I was old enough to sit still for the whole service.
I loved all the teachers that I had. Many of them, we called Aunty and Uncle. My exposure to the church ran the full gamut from Protestant to Catholic. I recall in particular, the Masses in high school were a twice weekly staple. Truth must be told though, when i was a fresher I caught minimal parts of the Homily. Maybe I was the one who was asleep…who knows, it is my story, so i digress willingly.
For the longest time i took the liberty of going to church on my own accord here and visited church after church in a bid to get settled. I was sure I wanted to be in a church, but i found that when you are looking, you have to have specific requests. I prefer a mixed crowd, where there are older couples, singles and grandparents. I also prefer a place where one does not have to dress up formally, especially bearing in mind this summer heat. And please, can we see kids going to Sunday School? Pleease!
I don’t think that there are many places where you can find the kind of lively service and enthusiasm as there is in the Kenyan( more African based) types of services. I have seen them here as i attend churches that have a)Kenyan pastor b)Mostly Kenyan congregation c)Kenyan fellowships. For real, just for a micro moment, i am home again attending a mega service at Uhuru Park with Bishop So-and-So and i am in the Basilica downtown for Mass and I am in the 8,ooo seater hall off Lang’ata Road.
Still, i search. I think that home(read church) is where the heart is. The people that you meet when you are looking for a church are the ones who determine whether you will attend theirs or you will keep away. I have received varied invites to churches of different demographics. Whether it is a Southern Baptist congregation, or a Pentecostal assembly or a silent worship service. I wonder whether my bewilderment at the variety of options is THAT obvious.
Church is meant to be a home away from home. In Kenya, church is our community and our home.Our social gathering place and reference point for all of life( politicians can vouch for that one. I guess I still look for the church of my childhood everywhere i go.
Maybe this is the basis of a a bigger paper…a wider survey of the role of the church in Kenya as compared to the church here. You know you have been in college too long when every post turns out to be a sessional paper in itself!
Have a kanisan-Day!