Monday, November 3, 2008
Church Visits in the Konde Diocese of the ELCT (Evangelical Church of Tanzania)
We visited several congregations in the Konde Diocese. Each congregation went out of their way to welcome this guest from America. The district pastor, Pr. Meta, even came off of his sabbatical to lead worship in Kandete. The women of the congregations dressed me in traditional kitengas and often gave gifts of eggs or even a chicken one time. I was most humbled!
It is common for each congregation to have 2 or 3 choirs. Music has so much passion and meaning in their culture. They combine rythmn, dance and sing their hearts to the Lord. Even though I did not understand the words, I felt covered in prayer.
They have an "offering" practice we should try to adopt in America. During the offering, a table with several baskets(representing various ministries)is placed in front of the altar(see picture). As the choir sings the offering song, people walk around the table and drop their offering in the basket for the ministry they want to support. If they do not have money they will often bring fruits, vegetables, eggs and chickens. After service the choir leads the congregation out to the church yard in a circle where the fruits, veggies, eggs and chickens are auctioned off. That money is placed in the treasury. The beauty of sharing their resources is a lesson we can learn from.
Next week I will talk about the school visits.