I love going to church in the village.
For several reasons…but one is definitely the offering.
We went to a student’s home for ministry over the weekend. At church, many people give things other than money for their tithes and offerings: pineapples, corn, sugarcane, chicken, etc.
Someone had given a chicken (a rooster to be more specific), which is a pretty serious gift. Of course it was alive. It’s feet were tied together with a banana fiber (a strip of the dried “bark” from a banana tree). However they were not tied well.
All of the offerings were in the front of the church while the last few things in the service were concluded. This involved a man giving some kind of lengthy announcement (it wasn’t in English, so I’m not really sure what it was all about). While he is speaking is when someone noticed the chicken was roaming around up front. Ushers were urged to catch it. But of course, catching a chicken isn’t always a simple and quick task.
A woman in her ushering robe tried to discreetly corner the chicken and grab it, but of course that only startled it and caused it to run around. Another woman tried to join in the task. After several failed attempts, the rooster flew/jumped (I’m not sure you can ever really call a chicken’s airborne status flying, can you?) into a window. The windows in this brick building do not have any glass yet, and are simply open at all times. He proudly perched there for the whole congregation to see. The two women slowly and quietly made their way outside and around the front of the church to try from that side. Of course he saw them coming and frantically jumped back inside, moving from the floor to a pew, across the aisle, and right in front of me.
Now, I certainly can’t touch a chicken. I don’t know, birds kinda freak me out a little bit. Good thing the girls around me have no problem. As one person held his wings, another removed the banana fiber wrapped around one leg, and firmly tied the two legs together. The usher brought the rooster back to the altar with all the other offerings.
Meanwhile, the man was still talking through his announcement. I’m not sure if people really heard it or not, as a result of the chicken. I mean…this was all happening all around him (in front, behind, to the side…).
What did I learn from this experience?
I can never be a church usher in a Ugandan church, because it may involve the responsibility of catching a loose chicken.