Feed the Hungry
World Hunger Emphasis Service
A Call to Action Based on African Worship Practices
Celebration is a way of life for the African Christians. They worship through joyful song, dance, heart-felt prayer and proclamation. Arrange to have drums, tambourine, and sticks available as percussion instruments for the worship, and use them during all the songs. An African worship service in Nigeria usually begins with an exultant songfest of praise. During the initial songs of joy, the choir and the officiants process down the aisle and take their places. Gradually the exuberance transitions to quiet meditative singing.
"Soften My Heart” CCS 187
"Siyahamb' Ekukhanyen' Kwenkhos” CCS 95
If your congregation does not know this song, teach it now for use during the offertory.
"O Christ, My Lord, Create in Me" CCS 507
"Spirit of the Living God” CCS 567
Print the following meditation in the bulletin and ask the congregation to consider it while the drum beats softly.
Thank you, Creator God, for giving us life. Thank you for gathering us here today. We would praise you and know you, turning from ourselves to center our thoughts on you. Instill within us your loving Spirit that we may respond to the challenges of this hour. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
At the conclusion of the drum meditation, gently turn an African rain stick once.
Congregational Prayers in Unison:
Invite the people to pray in the African way. The presider should suggest several "points to ponder" or topics for prayer specific to the time, situation, and prayer needs. The presider then begins to pray aloud, and all the members of the congregation join in praying aloud, using their own words. Members unite their voices over similar issues, but each person expresses the prayer in his or her own words. Members should be aware of the presider’s voice leading the prayer, and tailor their expressions to his or her topics. By paying attention to the rhythm and flow of the presider’s voice, everyone can end at approximately the same time.
Welcome and Call to Worship:1
Leader shouts: Yesu Azali Na Bomoi! Jesus has life!
Congregation shouts: Hallelujah! Yesu Azali Na Bomoi! Jesus has Life!
Leader shouts: Hallelujah!
Invite the children to come forward and share with the congregation what they have learned in church school that morning. In this experience, the children are the teachers, the adults the learners.
Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn: "Brothers and Sisters of Mine” CCS 616
Scripture: Matthew 25:35–41
Have two people read this scripture with drama and emphasis. The "king" should emphasize his needs and the fact that they were met. The "righteous" person should emphasize the feeling of confusion over the king’s claims. The "king’s" response should be very gentle and loving.
Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn: "Takwaba Uwabanga Yesu!" CCS 121
Sermon based on Matthew 25:35–41, Luke 6:36–38, or Doctrine and Covenants 153:9
This should be a brief call to action including a clear statement concerning the World Hunger Fund.
Congregational Hymn: "Let Your Heart Be Broken" CCS 353
Disciples Generous Response
Use the song "Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'" CCS 95 for the African offering described below. Announce or put in the bulletin that the undesignated money from the offering will be sent to the World Hunger Fund.
In Africa, the giving of the offering is a time of great celebration, singing, and dancing, a highlight of the service that can occupy a great deal of time. The members of the congregation begin singing a song with enthusiasm and joy and form a long line. Swaying, shuffling, moving to the rhythm, they come forward to deposit their money in offering baskets. In some places, those with large denominations exchange their bills for smaller ones in order to circle past the baskets several times, thus prolonging the procession of giving. Those who have several bills to contribute also share with those who have none, so every member of the congregation can participate in the offering. In Africa, the offering is always blessed after it has been received.
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
Gracious and Giving God, in our plenty, we would remember your children who are poor, hungry, and broken. May you be with the blind, the ill, the destitute, the hungry, the refugees, and the despairing. Increase your spirit of generosity in our hearts, and multiply these gifts that your people everywhere may know new life, new hope, and new direction. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
In the African Church, part of the call to action and sending forth includes announcements of community needs and community outreach.
Song of Sending Forth: "Thuma Mina" ("Send Me, Lord") CCS 661
Thuma mina, thuma mina,
Thuma mina Nkosi yam.
Send me, Lord, send me, Lord,
Send me into the world
OR "Send Me Forth, O Blessed Master" CCS 651
I send you forth into the world, to turn your good intentions into action. Feed the hungry, comfort the sick, embrace the lost and lonely. Go with God’s blessings and the assurance that God’s Spirit goes before you. Amen.
1. The phrase "Jesus has life"carries a double meaning among the Christians of Zaire. It is the equivalent of "He is risen!"and also means "Jesus has life to offer." Maren C. Tirabassi and Kathy Wonson Eddy, Gifts of Many Cultures: Worship Resources for the Global Community (Cleveland, Ohio: United Church Press, 1995), 11.