Ndanga Ramazani, a member of our Meeting, was approached by a number of refugee families who wanted to worship in the way they did back in Africa. Ndanga, a recorded (by Evangelical Friends of Churches in Congo) Quaker pastor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo agreed and so Christ is the Answer church was born.
On May 20th, Steve Mohlke, current General Secretary of NYYM, Angela Hopkins, Director of Friends Center for Racial Justice in Ithaca NY, Gloria Thompson, a member of the Executive Committee for Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC) and I all attended Ndanga’s church, held in the basement of the NRC building Sunday afternoon. Steve was asked to bring the message for the day, and I was asked to bring the closing Benediction. The impetus for this visit came from the people Ndanga serves. Currently they have between 30-50 people there worshiping each week. These recent immigrants have let Ndanga know that they want their church to be part of the larger faith community of Quakers. We visited to learn more about this vibrant new faith community.
In Scripture it says “Be still and know that I am God.” It also says, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” These verses speak to the unprogrammed worship we participate in each week. However, Scripture also contains verses like “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” and stories like the one about King David, coming out of the temple so filled with Spirit that he was singing and dancing – and embarrassing his wife who thought he wasn’t acting very “kingly.” David’s reply to her was, “I wasn’t dancing and singing for you. I was dancing and singing for God.”
Christ is the Answer church is full of Spirit-filled music, testimonies and heartfelt expressions of love for the Holy. I believe that there is room at the table for all of us and I hope that we can build a relationship between these two kinds of Quakerism. In a world bent on dividing and parsing everything into smaller and smaller groups, I hope that we can reverse this tide and all become F/friends.