The Church Neighbour

I’ve lived close to this church long enough to be familiar with proceedings over the years. Those of you who cross the street in front of your homes to discharge bath water into the gutter will understand my proximity to the Presbyterian church in my area.

In close to 20 years, I’ve seen vociferous Sunday school children graduate from the wooden structure to the Young People’s Guild (YPG).

Some leave for a while and come back. Some move out of the vicinity and never came back. Some I’ve befriended. There are those I’ve shared food and played with. Eventually, they leave but I stay. The few left behind are doing their best to keep the church going- they are the pioneers.

I’ve witnessed enough harvests that put up the grand block structure which hosts thrice the church members now. It hasn’t been an easy journey for them.

I’ve watched musicians; big and small, perform at the premises. The likes of Christiana Love, Phillipa Baafi, Evangelist. Diana Asamoah et al have once raised the roof during Sunday services.

I’ve seen pastors come and go. Those who prolonged the service to 2 pm and those who now close at 12noon. I’ve watched deliverance services where demons are cast out of growling victims. I’ve heard them scream amidst intense prayers.

And I’ve also heard the irksome choristers. Those who sing and stop halfway to inhale some air. Just as I’ve seen the aggressive student guitarists who learn a tune once every year- yet never stop coming for rehearsals.

Somehow, I’m familiar with the playlist for every Sunday. I know that particular opening praise tune and the one that gives way to the crazy dance moves. I hear them all and often sing along with them even while washing at home- those songs never change.

I’ve stood at my gate long enough to witness the free shows- the Jesus films and the motivational messages. The Christmas celebrations, the Easter and the ‘hosanna’ marches.

I’ve also endured the Friday All Night services, the dawn and midnight prayers as well as the loud knockouts.

I’ve watched the church organize weddings, birthday parties, picnics, trips, and funerals. I’ve watched them rejoice and I’ve watched them mourn.

When that man from the church died a few years ago in the process of helping to build the house of the Lord, the church was shaken.

“Bra Attah was a very good and hardworking man of God. The Lord has called his own” I heard the pastor say during the sermon.

“He worked so hard for the Lord. He carried those blocks on his own and mixed mortar day and night- even when we had told him to take some rest and continue with the laborers the next day” one woman said amidst tears.

I witnessed his life and death at his home which shared a wall with the church. He worked 24 hours a day. He had no time for himself except for the lord. Yet, when he finally broke down, no amount of medicine could sustain his health. Not even the hundreds of bottles of herbal concoctions I saw at his home.

On the day of his funeral, the church could not host the numbers. I watched mom offer help and provided our washroom to the masses. I’ve been there and witnessed it all.

In front of my father’s house, where I sometimes sit to cool off, I’ve heard gossips, complaints, and quarrels. I know the mutual greeting “asomdwe nka wo oo” (peace be unto you) and how others have been scolded by “mother superior” for saying good morning instead.

Yet, I am not a Presbyterian. I am just a church neighbor.


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