Members and pastor of Maranatha Lutheran Church can count themselves blessed by the event on Sunday, February 23rd to mark Black History Month. The church was filled, community members found their way to Maranatha’s new location on Woodhaven Road in Kitchener, and a good number from St. Philip Lutheran attended as well, including my husband and me. Since we share this building now as our place of worship, it was fitting that we worship and celebrate together.
I’ve looked forward to this year’s celebration and the enthusiasm that the Caribbean Lutherans bring to their worship, somewhat different than traditional Lutherans I have known and worship with. Being truthful, I was also looking forward to tasting Caribbean food and the program. It always includes music.
We entered the sanctuary and listened to the music of the Starlite Steel Band, while more members gathered, while women from Maranatha prepped last items in the kitchen then joined us for worship and opening celebrations. Pastor Peter Kuhnert opened and welcomed all to the service. He introduced Maranatha’s new choir, composed mainly of youth, and two playing drums. They sang Njalo (meaning Always), representing prayers to God to fill all our needs. Our hymns ranged from the more solemn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to the lighter “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”
Pastor Peter addressed the theme of Celebrating Faith Through the Arts in his sermon for the day, and spoke on how we use music, dance, drama, liturgical art such as banners, poetry, spoken and written word to both demonstrate and share our faith in God. He also added a little humour when he spoke of being a German Lutheran who traditionally doesn’t move as much when they sing.
People may also use some of these forms in supplication and prayer as the psalmist did when he cried out in distress. Some of the best art comes from deep feeling and experience, both good and not so good.
After offering, as in traditional Lutheran services, communion was served—open to all who believe that the bread and wine represent Jesus’ gifts to us. Pastor Rick Pryce, of St. Philip Lutheran, assisted in serving communion during which the Starlite Band played. The service concluded with another joyous African hymn, Amen, Siakudisima, which we sang in both English and the original Xhosa African language.
Watch for Part 2– the rest of the event
With appreciation to Sylma Fletcher for permission to use some of her photos
Today, our sister church, Maranatha Lutheran Church, will host their Black History Month celebration in a new location— at St Philip Lutheran Church, Woodhaven Road in Kitchener. Last year, church council members of St. Philip, of which I was one, attended their service at the Keffer chapel of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary on the campus of Wilfrid Laurier University.
During 2013, this Carribean Lutheran Church joined in a covenant relationship with St. Philip, sharing the same building for worship, and indeed sharing some special services, such as Christmas Eve.
And so today the service and celebration will be held at St. Philip at 236 Wooodhaven Road in Kitchener. I look forward to this celebration with fellow Christians.
Pastor Peter Kuhnert and worship assistant, Arlene.