The Service

From the time the  people arrive to the time people leave, it takes about 2-3 hours. However, after the first people arrive,  it takes about an hour and a half for the seats to fill. For the first part, a few younger people, usually who look to be in their late teens, use their voices and an electric keyboard to fill the room with roaring loud music. There are no song books, so the songs usually contain many repetitive lines, and the same songs are usually sung at each service. After hearing the chorus a couple times, it’s easy to sing along with simple words like “Yaweh.” Even without knowing all the words, it’s hard not to sway along with the rest of the congregation. After the majority of the congregation has arrived, the pastor reads Bible verses (in their language) and gives a sermon.


Some members of the congregation wear stylish blouses and tight pants,others colorful, traditional dresses and button up shirts. There are two doors: one facing the courthouse and another facing the alley. When I first visited the church, one of the congregation members told me that people like to come in through the front to show off new clothes that they’ve bought.


While the adults and babies sit in rows of chairs on the bottom floor, the children watch or play from a balcony in the back. A couple of women sit upstairs with them to ensure that everyone behaves.


Perhaps one of the most fascinating parts in the prayers. When the pastor asks people to pray, everyone in their church bows their heads and whispers their prayers just loud enough that you hear them speaking. When everyone is praying, it is as if you are suddenly submerged into a sea of piety.