You probably don’t remember when your church’s anniversary is, do you? Unless of course you are from the Philippines. Filipinos know how to do celebrations — birthdays, going away parties, anniversaries. No one does it better than they do. Which is why I suppose church anniversaries are such a big deal. Tonight we will be celebrating the sixth anniversary of Pingkian Family Worship, the small community of faith that shares a name with our community in Quezon City.
Preparations have been going on for quite a while. Yesterday the decorating began. Because we are anticipating some guests we decided to rearrange the layout so the front will be at the side. A local politician loaned us a stage that she has in her storage room. The size of two sheets of plywood it stands along one side of the space. We have several benches the we placed in two rows right in front of the space. That leaves about 1.5 metres for the dancers! The theme is Simbalay, which is loosely translated as Worshipping at Home, so the decorations are based on a native house called a bahay kubo. The backdrop is a series of curtains and bamboo decorated with colourful native fans.
Each sub-group within the church will play a role: The women’s group will dance, the men’s group will sing, the youth will dance, we will have a couple of testimonies of thanksgiving to God, and a couple of families will sing. All of this, of course, will happen after the usual church service is finished. Our usual services follow a simple liturgy: Greeting, three or four praise & worship songs in either English or Tagalog, a time of corporate prayer, Pastor Renz will preach, and we’ll have a response song. Then the celebration will begin.
Right now I am hoping that the rains will stop. It’s really coming down. That’s the disadvantage of having a July anniversary in Manila — it’s rainy season. Earlier this afternoon, I was carrying our portable sound system down to where the service will be held. I had assumed the rain was finished but when I was halfway there the rains started again. Fortunately a local eatery has an overhang in front of it that I was able to use for cover. I only had to wait about 5 minutes before heading on my way again. The sun came out. The water started to dry up. And we were ready for the rest of the day. Then the rains began again. The thing about rain in Manila is that it comes hard for a short period of time and then is done. That’s what we are hoping for today too 🙂
Rain has messed with our plans in the past. A number of years ago, before we had our current facility, we had a rather elaborate setup using a tent. However, the rains meant we needed to move at the last minute. We ended up using our garage and the garage across the lane. We had chairs all the way across the street that needed to be moved in the middle of the service when one of the neighbours came home. It was reminiscent of the Christmas program we held one year where the neighbour carried a squealing pig past our setup because someone had bought it. It pays to not be too invested in make sure everything goes right 🙂
In the end it’s not the smoothness of the program that counts but rather the joy that we all shared in together as we prepared. God after all isn’t an event-based God but one that wants to meet us where we live everyday!
Remember sharing is what friends do!
Image is mine.