If you go on a trip with a church group you are going to spend some time in local churches, and our trip to South Africa was no exception, we were in several. These were not grand churches of the city, these were the humble churches of poor country folks. Simple, rustic and sacred to their congregants.
The church closest to the KwaZamokuhle center were we stayed was part of the Empangweni congregation. This is the site of the double funeral
I wrote about earlier. This is the largest of the Ondini church buildings I was in. There is a school across the street and the home/school for handicapped kids just down the road.
The interior seems to have had some work done with fewer broken windows and fewer banners than I remember.
Church buildings are located for walkers, this large of a building means that there are quite a few people who live within walking distance. This is one of the few churches I saw that actually had a planned parking area. In most churches if someone drives to church it is unusual. In areas where one pastor has several churches to cover, his is usually the only car in the lot.
The Hoffenthal church is also located next to a school but in a more remote area. The nearby orphanage and the Gogos (grandmothers) who run it are what sets this church apart from others.
Again it is a simple building inside an out. The Gogos are proud of the fact that their gardening project has earned them enough money to paint the church. The Hoffenthal congregation has seven buildings that the pastor hopes to be at at least once a month so he can preside at communion. Usually a lay preacher presides when he cannot be there. There are just under 400 congregants between these seven church sites.
The church at Emangweni has an impressive pulpit in front. This is the only church I celebrated Sunday services in on this trip to South Africa. Although a bit remote, it is home to several important people in the partnership. When I was there my host for the day Christopher (CK) Mazibuko was acting as the guest speaker. There were about 35 women, 45 children and young adults and 5 men in attendance that day, each group sits separate from the other, unless a very young child needs to sit with its mother. Again the church is located near a school, in this case both and an elementary and a high school. The high school where CK and Bonisewe were teachers.
I had attended smaller churches on my last trip to South Africa. You can check on my posts from February of 21011 to see pictures of them.
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