A cause for celebration

There are many occasions that bring people together for a celebration. Whether it is confirmation or a day of activities to prepare for the confirmation service, people enjoy being together. This week we are celebrating diversity in the Church.

God is in heaven, God is triune. This is also reflected in Sign Language. In some Sign Languages you swipe your dominant hand in front of your head. In the process, you spread your thumb, index, and middle fingers to show that you are referring to the triune Christian God.

A quiet party

The members of the German Sign Language choir in Nürtingen, Germany, know how to sign the word God. On Sunday, 13 February, the congregation had three reasons to celebrate. An 83-year-old brother, a 33-year-old brother and a one-year-old child all celebrated their birthdays. Since the oldest birthday child is hearing impaired the sermon was translated into Sign Language. And the choir spontaneously sang a song in German Sign Language.

Five choirs in Burundi

Musicians from the district Ancien de Bujumbura in the DR Congo gave a Pentecost concert on 5 June. In Burundi, five choirs came together to celebrate Pentecost in song. Among them were the choirs from the congregations of Maranvya, Kanyosha Central, Burerere, and the central congregation, who delighted the guests after the Pentecost service.

Musical inclusion

The congregation in Witten, Germany, recently celebrated its 125th anniversary. To mark the occasion, a group called Faktor G came to Witten on 14 May to give a concert. Faktor G is a project in which young people with and without disabilities make music together. It includes a band and singers. The “G” stands for Gemeinschaft, the German word for “fellowship”. Fellowship gives the members of the group strength, and brought the audience a lot of joy.

Children’s Days in Nigeria and Ghana

On 27 May children across Nigeria celebrated Children’s Day. Many congregations had organised activities for the children. For example, the children from Nifor and Ogiemwenken visited the zoo with their Sunday School teachers. Elsewhere, they made music or recited poetry or read from the Bible. In some congregations, the children were able to show off their acting and dancing skills in plays and dance shows. The congregation of Ibeshe welcomed a special guest that day. Apostle Oscar Kabanga Nwana conducted a divine service for the children. He was very touched when he asked if anyone could read Psalm 23 aloud and the hands of the children shot up. In the end, a five-year-old read the Bible passage to the congregation. He was so confident that everyone was amazed.

The children in the district of Tarkwa in Ghana came together for their Children’s Day on 28 May with Apostle George Sam in the central church in Tarkwa. The service was based on 2 Chronicles 15: 7: “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” The Apostle said, “There may be difficulties in life as you grow, but if Jesus Christ is your hope, He will strengthen and guide you in your daily activities.” And then he promised them, “Our ultimate reward is in heaven.” During the service, eight confirmands received a blessing on their confirmation. Afterwards, the children enacted a play titled “The Rich Man and the Poor Man (Lazarus)“. This was followed by a Bible quiz competition for which the winners received a prize.

Celebrating the age of majority

Confirmation is always a special celebration for a congregation. The members in the congregation of Chabarovsk in Russia were able to experience such a celebration on 22 May. One girl and three boys were confirmed and the congregation was delighted to be able to celebrate this special act of blessing with them. After the service there was cake for everyone.

In South Africa several preparatory events took place for this special celebration. Various activities were organised so that the prospective young people could get to know each other better. For example, the confirmands from Protea Park Congregation went for a beach walk at Melkbosstrand on Saturday 28 May and had breakfast together afterwards.

A day before their confirmation, the confirmands across the Gqeberha-Karoo Apostle Area gathered for activities and workshops in preparation for their special day. One group went to a wild flower reserve and walked a trail. After the activities and workshops, the focus shifted to the audio-visual service by District Apostle John Kriel from Tafelsig in Cape Town the next day.