In the last several weeks we have begun a new adventure with some of our neighbors here in Rock Island. In our immediate neighborhood there are many new immigrants from Eastern Africa, and many of these are Christians. A group of African Christians whose common language is Swahili have approached the Church of Peace about having Bible Study and Worship in their home, heart language. They have chosen a name for themselves. They are the African Light Pentecostal Fellowship.

The Church of Peace has a sympathy for worshipping God in one’s home language, since we were organized by immigrants from Germany and that for at least the first twenty years of our life our church language was German.

This African Fellowship will hold Bible Study on Wednesdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in either room 2 or in the Fellowhip Hall. Worship will be between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm in Fellowship Hall. They have agreed to be flexible, and when Fellowship Hall is needed on Sunday afternoons for other purposes they will move upstairs into the Sanctuary. Other times may be scheduled for Choir practice and other activities. On the fourth Sunday of the month the Fellowship group will meet at 10:30 am for worship with the rest of the church. On those fourth Sundays their choir may share music and some of their leaders may take a turn at Scripture reading. The members of the African Light Pentecostal Fellowship will support the church through a monthly offering.

Two of the members who speak English, Patrick Noya and Ngiriruburundi Joseph have agreed to be our “contact persons.” Ngiriruburundi has agreed that we can call him Joseph.

Many of these African neighbors are what is called “secondary migrants.” This means that they are refugees welcomed by the United States who were first settled in some other part of the country and have relocated here. As one fellow said, “I was first in Chicago but it was so expensive. Here is a good place to raise my family, and my money goes further.” I laughed and told him that these sound like some of the reasons that Nancy and I came to the Quad Cities some twenty years ago!

Pray that God will bless us in our journey together. And do your best to welcome these neighbors to the church.

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