Church and Me

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!


3 thoughts on “Church and Me

  1. Good ol sunday school memories…and kenyan church memories 🙂

    I so loved my sunday school teacher. She came out to visit me end March after not seeing her for like forever and it was one of the best things that’s happened to me this year but the funny thing was i still can’t call her by her name even after i’m now a grown woman, still i call her Tr. so so LOL her hubby would not stop laughing @ me.

    Back to the post LOL I totally agree wit what you’re saying church for us here is like looking for a home away from HOME.

    Have a beautiful week!

  2. There was one year in England I went church hunting!
    Went to quite a few – one of which had a congregation of about 15 all of whom were 70 and older save for one or 2 in their 50s – all white!
    And as u can imagine all they sang were hymns – old hymns – with the pastor playin the piano – etc – you get the picture!
    Of course I swiftly dismissed that story and continue church hunting – visited some funkier churches.
    But something kept drawing me back there!
    And so believe it or not I went back to that tiny old baptist church – the only other person under the age of 50 – the only black person!!
    You should have seen the place the first time I walked in – the place came to a stand still – someone under 30 had just walked into the church – probably the first time in decades – and he was black!
    But for the rest of my year in Liverpool that little church is where I went!
    And in that old church, with voices croaking through the songs, and a list read out every sunday of all the people who were sick (mainly cancer and arthritis – and they were many), and those who’d died, I discovered and grew closer to my Lord then I have ever been before or since!
    It was deep – I’m not the crying type and I have tears in my eyes as I write this!
    At the end of that year – a month before I left, the church was forced to close after what must have been a hundred years – why – because some scally kids had thrown things constantly at the church building and damaged it! The repairs to listed buildings had to be done in a certain way!
    It would’ve cost them 50,000 pounds – this was a congregation of 15 old age pensioners! No way they could manage it.
    And so as the scallies went to the brand spanking new clubs opening in the area, ignorant (or maybe not) of the fact that they’d succeeded in getting the church closed, and as the anglicans ‘broke new ground’ and ordained their first gay bishop, a small old baptist church in the Wirral closed its doors for the last time!

    I pretty much had to run out of there that last time to avoid breaking down in front of all those warm, kindly old faces – lined with sadness at the closure of the place!

    I could go on – but I won’t! Suffice to say the year I spent was a deeply moving experience of spiritual awakening!
    One day if I ever get the money – I’ll go back to that little church and fix it up and get it open again – if its not been turned into a club by then!

    I’m not saying that you look for a church like that!
    I’m just saying be open to God’s leading – His ways are not our ways – His thoughts are not our thoughts!

    Now let me run off and cry…

  3. So I see what you are saying. All the churches that I have attended so far are the same demographic landscape that you have described, older people and often just a few, but the spirit of those who go there remains a constant.

    Sad how you had to see the kids ruin a great old community and life for all those people who attended.

    A church is not the building or the people there, it is really the fellowship and the bonds that time does not break, nor vandals destroy.

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