Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kenya Team Reflection

Today's reflection is from Kenya team member Eileen Phelps.

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On Sunday morning our team split in two and went to two different Christian (non-Catholic) churches. The service I attended was in a small building about 20’x20’. It had some non-glass windows filled with wide-spaced wire. Had I stuck my hand out the window I could have touched the avocado trees growing inches from the building.

There was an older pastor and a younger man who was a pastor-in-training. There was LOTS of singing and lots of praying quietly out loud. (That sounds like an oxymoron.) Naturally, the five of us had sat together. Seeing this, the pastor, asked his congregants to move around and have us join their families which served to make us feel more welcomed.

Petronilla, our 410 Bridge assistant, who was also visiting, was invited to the front to share. Mark from our group shared a rousing testimonial. Our whole group was invited to the front to introduce ourselves and to share a song. (This was embarrassing because the villagers were singers and between the five of us we couldn’t come up with an appropriate song to which we all knew the words.) We muddled through Amazing Grace with the help of the congregation. (Apparently that’s a universal song.)

While the service was mostly in Kikuyu, the pastor and pastor-in-training alternated translating into English. The whole service was warm and welcoming and joyous and full of praise. While others in my group felt that this Christian service was very different from the Catholic mass to which they were accustomed, I did not agree. I felt the Kawiran service was not unlike Catholic masses I’ve attended at St. Bernardine and St. Matthew parishes where the congregants are mostly African-American. The differences we noticed in this service as compared to what we’re accustomed to at Nativity are more cultural (African versus Anglo) than denominational (Catholic versus Christian).

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