- Day of Prayer and Repentance - the African Way

Day of Prayer and Repentance - the African Way

It would be lively, colourful and loud on the federal Day of Thanks, Prayer and Repentance this year, with prayers for Switzerland and a great African atmosphere. This is the impression a peek into the Bienken Hall in Oensingen left on this Sunday afternoon. 

Over 300 people–the women in colourful garments and the men dressed in suits with ties–singing, dancing, praying and celebrating together on 20 September 2015.

CEEAS Annual Event

It is the most important celebration of the year for the Conférence des Eglises Evangéliques Africaines en Suisse (CEEAS). Most of the 13 active churches are represented. This association networks and supports the African churches in Switzerland and their faith. But, "CEEAS should not bring Africa to Switzerland, but rather accentuate African strengths", as its General Secretary Pastor Martin Yongo emphasized at the end of the day. The association wants to contribute to the integration of its members in the host country and promote contacts to other Swiss churches Switzerland.

Greetings from a Local Swiss Church
It speaks for itself that the first greeting was transmitted by Pastor Rolf Brennwald from the Freie Christengemeinde Olten. The African church La Main de l’Eternel (The Hand of God) meets in their church building. This church also invited everyone to a meal after the event and had prepared the entire infrastructure for this year's CEEAS celebration.

New Coordinator for the Working Group interkulturell Introduces Himself
The second greeting came from Ricardo Serrano, the new Coordinator for the  Swiss Evangelical Alliance's interkulturell Working Group. His biography is very intercultural, so as a Latino here with the Africans and in his new function, he is certainly at the right place. 
With these two speakers, the intercultural get-together was certainly a highlight for all of the attendees.

Putting GOTT in the Here and Now at the Centre
After almost two hours with lots of joyful music, loud singing along and prayer, Shaba Nkoy, Pastor of the La Main de l’Eternel church, stepped up to the microphone.
The sermon, for which Pastor Shaba Nkoy requires around 20 minutes each for one point he is making, is peppered with examples from daily life and, occasionally, expressions in Lingala. This is something that is apparently well received by his audience: People applaud, shouts of "Amen" can be heard and people cheer when the pastor gets going. 

GOD'S Programme or Our Own?
He has every reason to do so, because he calls the audience members to truly place GOD at the centre of their own life–even when GOD takes time transmitting His steps and instructions. How often do we–whether we come from Africa or Switzerland–tempted to move things along and set up our own programme. The audience was prompted and challenged to reflect on if they are in a ministry because GOD called them out or if they simply think it should be so. 

Echo from the Participants
This earnestness was exactly what gave two or three of the participants a profound experience and was the highlight of the day for them. For some, the time together was wonderful. One person mentioned the warm atmosphere and another appreciated the most that GOD was glorified.

What did those present take back home? A few statements:
- "We shouldn't be chasing after miracles."
- "Excitement for GOD the African way is wonderful."
- "I shouldn't worry so much anymore, because my life is not here on earth,
but in Heaven."
- "We should continue to pray for the churches, for the body of CHRIST."
- "I truly wish to have GOD at the centre of my life and my ministry"

Patricia Egli, African Link