Some More thoughts from Graham
I think you should know about the two big growth industries in Nairobi. Potholes and the security sector. There are big pot holes in the road because it has been the rainy season [goodness – it happens every year and is called the ‘long rains’]. It does not rain – it pours torrentially for about an hour or so and it would quite impossible to walk for two minutes without being thoroughly drenched. As a result, traffic is slow, chaotic, disorderly and endless – not helped by the traffic police at all main junctions and roundabouts – complete log-jams break out all over the city every day and the police seem unable to unravel them!
The other big deal is security – everywhere has high walls and metal fences always capped with barbed wire plus 24-hour uniformed guards on all the compounds and office blocks. Seems half of Nairobi is in guards’ uniform of one sort or another…………….even at the Churches. Curiously, it makes it a safe city, as, unwittingly, there are guards on every corner.
Yesterday Lavington United Church was as idiosyncratic as ever……………a very old Kenyan [ a ‘Mzee’]named Phillip sits outside with me when I am waiting to go in – he is what I call ‘smart-grubby’; he is very tall and almost toothless and speaks reasonable English and is interested in where I come from and he mutters ‘Amen!’ quite frequently – I think he is a saint in disguise and I look forward to our conversations. I think there may be a lot of Phillips in Glory! He is a delight.
I forgot to tell you last week of a couple of the more regular/spontaneous happenings you will not be familiar with. New attendees are asked to stand up and introduce themselves, together with anyone who has been missing for more than a month, after which we all sing that old refrain ‘ there’s a welcome here, there’s a welcome here, there’s a Christian welcome here’ [two times!]. The other oddity is that when the sermon ends, everybody says ‘Amen’ and then there is a round of applause for the preacher In the end, there were ‘over 100’ women who turned up to the all-day Women’s Conference last Saturday…………..and they get a lunch as well[ but LUC do have a school next door which I suspect has a kitchen].
For the month of May the four Sundays have had the theme of ‘The Servant Leader’; the Super preached yesterday and made an interesting statement – ‘it is not that you hope they know, it is that you know they have hope’. Think about it.
A bit about my almost new special subject, ‘Church Finances’; last week LUC took KES 550,000 shillings [about £4050.oo] which was made up of the Collections, the new Pledges that week [towards the new Sanctuary Fund – this is not money now, but public solemn pledges to deliver when asked later on] and proceeds of bookstall sales and other sales. The estimated Sanctuary costs are KES 22 million and they have raised KES 14 million so far. EVERY WEEK the current progress in the weekly takings and the current status on the Sanctuary fund is announced and shown on all the CCTV screens………………………and if your car is blocking people in the car park, during the service a small ticker runs along the screen telling the owner of Car Regn XXX XXX to go and move it. The ticker stays there until someone gets up sheepishly and goes outside! Small children are reasonably behaved, but the odd wanderer is there and is occupied by whoever is nearest and is eventually sent back through the congregation to the parents later on – very casual – all the ladies coo!