If weekends at home are times of recreation or yard work or rest; that is not the case in Tanzania.  It is worship time and I mean big time, joyful worship with singing and dancing and many choirs.  This past Sunday began at 5:00 a.m. for us as we had to leave at 6:00 to get to the village of Hombolo, much of it on dirt roads.  We had been invited by Alex Mashoka to visit and preach 2 services at his parish.  We felt a wee bit guilty as we were driven there by The Rev. Canon Yusufa Mkunda who happens not to like to get up early.  But what a gentleman and good sport.  He actually thanked us for asking him to go ~ he had never been to that parish and he said he learned so much.  Imagine, a Canon in the church saying that he learned a lot and he appreciated my alluding to witchcraft in my sermon.  I don’t know how the congregation felt about it but Yusufa said it is a problem in the villages and he was glad I said it was a no-no.  I talked about all of creation being good and that we must care not only for one another but for our universe.  He’s been trying to drum that in their heads also in his classes.

Just to give you a run down ~ we arrived at 7:15 and were served tea in the priest’s office.  There were at least 3 choirs who sang and danced many times during the service.  Quite different from our liturgical dancing.  I imagine they would find it very dull and boring.  We had Holy Communion after the sermon and then more singing and dancing.  I would say a lot of their joy is in music.  Alex had been one of my first students 5 years ago and I actually put his picture on the lecturn at Emmanuel Church one time.  He had had to beg for $5.00 to take his daughter to the hospital because of malaria. 

The second service followed at 10:30 ~ much like the first service only I baptized two children, one a baby.  Since the baby was on her mother’s breast I knew I was in for trouble.  Sure enough, she took one look at this white-haired, white skinned (muzungu) and wailed.   This coming Sunday we are going to a church where there will be 60 some baptisims.  We are all told to bring stoles to help out ~  if I were the only one doing it there would be a chorus of crying babies ~ true bedlam. 

St. Mary Magadalene’s donated many altar hangings in green and white which we presented to the church.  Before we left the altar was fully adorned with these lovely paraments.  In turn we were introduced and asked to tell about ourselves and we given lovely Kanga’s.  The bright colors don’t look as becoming on us with our white skin as they do on the beautiful ebony skin.

These visits re-inforce our belief in the need for strong leadership from the clergy which we are eager to share with your congregations.  An endowment fund has  been started called Footsteps in  Faith for Msalato Theological College.  It would free the college from worrying about food and scholarships for these very bright students.  You will  be hearing more about it as we go along.  We want to come to your congregations to tell you of the opportunity you have to make a huge impact on Tanzania.

Madame Jessie was the guest lecturer at one of my classes today and she did a super job.  One of the issues for the pastors here is how to get the men to come to church.  They don’t have golf to drag them away but there are many other reasons.  Jessie helped them with ways to encourage the  men to come and be a part of the congregation.  It won’t happen over night but she used her consulting skills and knowledge to work them through it.  Highly successful, I would say.

As my children used to say in the 60’s:  PEACE AND LOVE,  Tally