The Church Service
It started raining about half an hour before we were supposed to leave for church. It kept raining past 9:30, our planned leaving time. When it got to be about that time, we asked if we needed to get going, our liaison, Agyeman, looked a little funny at us and told us that “it is raining”. Because it was raining, that meant the people who were walking to church would not head there until it was done, so we waited at the hotel until the rain slowed down, then left a little after 10.
When we got there, we were greeted to a mostly full church, open air on both sides. In my mind, I was thinking right away, a “southern” type of service with lots of singing and amens. It wasn’t quite that though. We went to a service spoken in the native language, not English (that is next week). While we couldn’t understand anything, we could still get a sense of what was going on. There was a lot of interaction from the congregation. like, a lot.
We were introduced to the congregation soon after we got there, having to get up front and introduce ourselves. It was at this point we noticed that the first 4 pews were full of kids. Instead of sitting with their parents, all the kids sat together up front, and were amazingly well behaved, as well as both amazed and amused by us.
Then it was time for the offertory, which went pretty much like this:
- Lots of music, the same song played over and over as some danced in the pews
- When it was our pew, you stand up and take your donation to the front, dropping it in a bucket with the day of the week you were born printed on it.
- go back to your pew and either sit, or dance more.
The goal of the different buckets was to have a game, to see which day of the week would raise the most money, encouraging people to donate more. Later in the service, another man came up to encourage us to donate more, even buying a bottle of water for 10 cedis. The phrase “10 cedis” was repeated many many times to encourage more people to come up.
Overall, it was a little tough to stay awake, the warm air combined with the rhythmic cadence of the language made it difficult. but there were enough times to stand or walk around that it made the 2 hours go by really quickly.
In the end, I couldn’t help but think of Will near the end of the service. They invited some of the kids to come up, introduce themselves and proclaim their faith to the whole church. After they did, the entire church gave an “Amen!” a few of the kids couldn’t have been much older than Will, so it just hit me a little harder.