News from Graham in Nairobi
Academies and Revivals
Apologies for the delay in updating you all on my final visit [I think!] to Nairobi.
The first Sunday I was back at LUC was ‘Academy Sunday’ – evidently it is an annual thing. It was a delight – the LUC Academy is a private school set up in faith entirely from contributions by the Congregation many years ago and with continued parental support ever since. The current deal is that it accepts children from infants though to the end of primary when they go on to state High Schools. Some are now studying at Universities across Europe. The children [about 415] are mainly from the congregation [they pay the going rate for fees] but there are now some children from low income local families who can also attend without the high fees. It is right next door to the Church on three floors. Interesting information is that they have a School Assembly every morning and that a Christian ethos permeates all activities throughout the day. There is an array of extra curricula options and everyone is encouraged in music, in praying and in leadership! Also, fascinating that every Thursday for two hours after school, there is sports activities and everybody takes part……………. including all the teachers!
The children took an active part in the service and there were at least two choirs [one choir split into a smaller combo so is that a third choir, I ask?] and they were very good. The infant choir had the congregation in ecstasy with their singing, their acting and their general enthusiasm, sometimes highly idiosyncratic but a delight. They even had audience participation when we all entered into a catchy rhyme about ‘I will pray for you if you will pray for me’ with actions. Everyone clapped spontaneously at the end. The Church was full of parents and grandparents to watch their offspring.
There was a disco style dancing and singing group with a lively Christian song but it was a bit lost on me as I am not up to speed on the words they were actually singing! The music was provided entirely by the children throughout the service – drums, piano/organ keyboard, guitar, the lot. Interestingly, most weeks the first 20-minute period of the service involves communal singing which is partly in English but more often in Kiswahili but this week it was all in English.
Last Sunday was very different indeed. The intervening week had had daily revival meetings in the evenings and today was the culmination. It was ‘Revival Sunday’ with a visiting ‘Bishop’ [no ‘dog collar’!] who was more of the American revivalist flavour with a strong emphasis on personal continued commitment – he speculated that we all had secret sins that even our loved ones did not know about and we all needed a close personal relationship with God to resolve issues. In the revivalist style, he encouraged an alter call and some moved to the front to receive a blessing. He also had books for sale and was leading an afternoon session at the Church. It was all rather different from even convention-type meetings in the UK and was fast-paced and rather noisy. The Bishop had a strong loud voice and was not afraid to use it – but he also was quiet sometimes with a clearly well-developed sense of humour as well. Not sure Southampton Circuit is quite ready for this style…………………. but, who knows?
The weather has been warm and dry but not humid and the challenge of getting things done in a different environment is interesting. My Anglican colleague [who also comes to LUC when he is around] wanted to go to the Cathedral Bookshop which is about a five-minute walk from the Ministry – we went and had a quick lunch in the Cathedral Café as well. It was all very genteel and a bit ‘English Provincial’ in many ways, but a delight nonetheless.
next week will be my last week here.
Some of Grahams Previous blogs can be found at