Sunday was a gala event at Gitarama Presbytery. This is one of the seven new presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR). The church has restructures and moved from 17 regions to 7 presbyteries. Sunday was the installation of the new leaders of the presbytery and was also Partnership Sunday, celebrating the partnership between Kiskiminetas Presbytery of PC(USA) and the new Gitarama Presbytery of EPR. So it was a big celebration. I was there as a pastor of Gitarama Presbytery and as a representative of PC(USA), so I celebrated both events.
|Installation of Presbytery leaders|
|Praise choir dancing|
Since it was a large event, it was held outdoors, with tents set up on four sides of an open area in a square for the congregation to have shelter and an open area in the center for the installation, the choirs and the dancers. As part of the worship service, Rev. Boyd Edmondson of Kiski Presbytery, who with his wife Shirley are living in Gitarama for 6 months as part of the partnership exchange, preached the sermon. What a delight to hear a wonderful sermon in English and to rejoice in that growing partnership. After the sermon, the new officers of the presbytery were installed. The new president happens to be a good friend from PIASS where we teach together. That was an added blessing.
But to be honest, as wonderful as these elements were (and the reasons we were there), the real delight of my heart was the music and dancing of the event. There were two wonderful choirs who sang and danced for joy before the Lord and a traditional music group who entertained at the end of the service. The one choir used contemporary Christian music, complete with western style drums and keyboard. The fun there was the young drummer who was maybe 12 years old but knew how to get the most out of that drum set. The second choir sang more traditional Rwandan praise choruses and danced in Rwandan style. That same style was presented but the traditional dancers who used Rwandan drums and native wear. Each was wonderful in its own way but the contrast of the drumming was what captured my attention the most. Drumming is a part of life here and to see the two styles mixed and matched was fun.
Words fail to capture the joy of the moment. Pictures help, but the sound was the most impressive. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture that is a way to really share it with you but I did take some photos and hope you enjoy them. So this is more of a photo essay than a written one. Enjoy.
|The young drummer|
|The traditional drummers|
|Traditional men dancing|
|The moves of the lady dancers|