Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Buea Community Church
I have been meaning for some time to write about the church I attend. Every Sunday morning Joe goes of to football and I go to church. Religion is a big part of people's lives in Cameroon. Everybody goes to church. You are strange if you do not (see Joe's blog on these matters ). People talk very openly about church and God and openly ask you weather you believe or not.
We live with Genesis who is the founder of Helps International. He is also the pastor and founder of Buea Community Church. Genesis used to go to Buea Baptist Church and he did his pastoral training. Not quite sure what this involves as everybody appears to be a pastor. He then got fed up with many of the ways the church was run so decided to leave and set up his own church.
The services are held in our house. The congregation is small. Services start at 10am. Although usually at this time it is only me and the kids that live in the house present. Even the other people that live in out house are not ready on time. By about 10:30/11 most people have turned up. Usually there are about 15 people present. The service goes a little like this. From 10 until about 11:30 is singing worship and praise. Some English style worship and lots of African style. One person will lead singing simple lines which we then repeat. For example 'Jesus is my friend, my friend everyday'. There is lots of clapping and drumming. Its quite amazing how much noise 15 people can make! A few of the songs are in pidgin so it takes me a while to figure out what they are saying. If I do not get it I just hum along. Interspersed throughout the singing in times of prayer. These are a little scary. Everybody praying out loud at once. I love the way they pray for such simple things. Thank you for keeping me safe throughout the last week etc. So many prayers of thanks and hardly any requests. We could learn from this. We have a time of testimony where people can share something that has happened to them or a verse or a song.
The sermon then follows, usually lasts an hour or more.Often lots of jumping around the bible referencing lots of odd verses. I find this a little off putting but the underlying message is pretty good. Genesis often preaches but if he is away then William does. William is another pastor, he is also a business studies student at the University and is younger than me so not sure what training he has to make him a pastor. The service usually lasts 2-3 hours and there is no tea or coffee afterwards.
Last Sunday I went with Sheila to her church to get a different perspective. She goes to the Full Gospel Mission. It was as scary as it sounds. The church was packed, people standing out the back and a very full Sunday school. All visitors had to stand up, I was the only white person so a little obvious. Great service although starts at 9 and lasts over 3 hours. The sermon was over 1 1/2 hours - I completely lost track. The service is bilingual so everything was translated in to French. Worship was great, fantastic choir with great voices and no pidgin, although there was some french. The end of the service all got a little scary. Lots of wailing and stuff as they called the holy spirit in.all a bit much for me.
We have bible study on a Tuesday and prayer meetings on Fridays. Due to the small congregation these are pretty similar to Sundays really.