John Gee, a member of the Diocese of Edmonton, is currently in Burundi, working in the Diocese of Buye for a three-month stint. We welcome this guest post to the blog.
Anglican services in Burundi tend to have a strong Evangelical flavour. Sunday morning at St. John’s, Ngozi the service was Morning Prayer – the first time I have experienced that on a Sunday morning in years.
Services last for at least two hours and no one complains. Every church has 4 or 5 choirs (children, youth, young adults, women, mixed) and each of them has to make a contribution. St. John’s has a particularly good music director who accompanies on both electronic instruments and traditional drums. Perhaps the most enjoyable for me is the unaccompanied singing - everyone here seems to have an enviable sense of rhythm and pitch.
In Tanzania I found I could sing along phonetically in Swahili fairly easily, but Kirundi is more challenging! Nevertheless I enjoy following the printed words and noticing familiar patterns in prayer, hymns, and scripture. Usually I am sitting next to someone who can interpret so that I get the gist of what is happening. I am always welcomed during the announcements; I find the attention a little overwhelming, but the hospitality is unmistakably genuine.