Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sun, Aug 18: “The Bakery of Heavenly Bound Souls”

Andrea: Today we went to church for the first time. There is a Church of Central Africa Presbyterian congregation here, which our friends the Maliros attend and which has an 8 a.m. service in English. The bulletin (“brochure”, more properly) read: Welcome to Bunda CCAP Nkhoma Synod, “The Bakery of Heavenly Bound Souls.” After that we weren't sure what to expect but as it turned out, the general outlines of the service were not too different from a mainline service in the US. It was punctuated by lots of singing: scripture, Apostle's Creed, offering were all followed by a song, and two choirs sang. We knew all the hymns – which were sung a capella, in amazing harmonies. The kids especially had a bit of trouble following the sermon because of the speaker's Chichewa accent, and the lack of amplification meant outside noises sometimes drowned it out. During announcement time we as visitors, along with a Malawian who was there for the first time, were invited to come forward and be welcomed, and say a few words of greeting to the church. They responded with a beautiful song in Chichewa. We found out they have Sunday school for kids – at 6:30 a.m. Joel and Emma were a little alarmed, but very relieved to find that it's done in Chichewa so there's no point in them rolling out early for that! Apparently the English service is heavily attended by college students and faculty. It's followed by a Chichewa service which we didn't stay for. There were no backs on the benches, and no screens on the open windows so little golden leaves occasionally drifted in with the breeze. All in all, these heavenly-bound souls felt warmed but not excessively baked as we worked our way through crowds of students on the dusty road toward home. (The excessively-baked part came when I decided to go for a jog before lunch...6 a.m. is much cooler for that sort of thing.)

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