Friday, 13 December 2013


I have just returned from a week in Zimbabwe.  Last Sunday I was preaching at the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Budiriro, one of the large townships on the outskirts of Harare.  They were very excited because they have just been given a permanent site on which to build a church.  At the moment they are worshipping, just about 50 yards away from the new site, but in a temporary place and a temporary structure.  One side is completely open, and so it is almost like worshipping in the open air.  The other sides have sheets of corrugated iron, not great, but a significant improvement on the cardboard that was mostly being used when I last visited that particular church in August 2011.  They are situated in an area of great need and deprivation.  They are fortunate that they are near to a bore hole and a water pump that was put in by UNICEF a few years ago.  As one of the elders commented to me: ‘That bore hole has saved quite a few lives.’  But we would do well to learn from the enthusiasm of their worship.  The service, which was scheduled to start at 10.30, actually started about 20 minutes later.  ‘Most of our people come late,’ it was explained to me.  It wasn’t a large congregation, maybe 40 people in total, perhaps a little less, but people of all ages, children, young people, younger adults and older people.  The lively singing – with a bit of dancing too – was accompanied by a drum.  Towards the end of the service, which lasted the best part of two hours – though it didn’t seem like it – we all trooped round the side of the church so that I could bless somebody’s new car.  We then returned for the final hymn – which I tried to follow in the Shona hymn book – and blessing. 

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