Reflections on Kwanzaa 2013

Another Kwanzaa service has come and gone and I have a lot to reflect on this year.

New Year’s Day service had a small turnout, as usual, and once again I had to chase down readers. I have a faithful few that once asked will say “I’ll read what you give me,” and I somehow was able to keep better organized with who had what part. Most of the parts were read with ease, even though after all these years of doing the same service (AND phonetic cues on the cards) folks still have trouble pronouncing the Swahili words. Procrastination kept me from altering the tablecloth yet again, but it’ll be ready for next year. We did manage to organize the karamu on a small scale, so the small group of us gathered worked out. I attempted to spark two projects for next year, passing out a family tree for the members to fill out, and several sheets of circles for members to sign their names and the names of their family members. The circles I intend to color in with red, black and green, cut out and assemble into a wall banner or table runner, and the names from the family tree I hope to compile into one large tree graphic intertwining all of the church families as one. Those two projects, along with that tablecloth, I hope to work on and complete by the end of the year for next year’s service.

I tried to express the depth of meaning I found in the Kwanzaa service as it relates to my personal faith, and hopefully the significance of the celebration’s design came across in a fresh light. I don’t know what else to do to get the younger families out on New Year’s Day; while I know some work in industries unaffected by the holidays and some may visit out-of-town relatives, others just choose not to come in the morning after a late night of celebrating–even when it falls on a Sunday. Ringing in the New Year thanking God for allowing you to see it seems like a reasonable thing to do, in my opinion; yet it is not seen as a priority to most. That is something I’ll have to reflect on during this year.

On the personal side, I was able to purchase my own Kwanzaa set of the kinara, candles and unity cup, and with any luck I can do a daily observance next year. I had gotten an extra bendera for church that wound up being smaller than the one was originally had (and at the moment couldn’t find), so I’m claiming that for my home celebration, which I will have to figure out exactly what I wish to do on that smaller scale. It is my wish to organize a community Kuumba service for the last Saturday or Sunday afternoon of the year (a difficult task at that time of the year in a city with such hopeful and devoted football fans); if I can gauge interest with the other Lutheran congregations and other churches and community groups in the area, maybe this would be a more welcoming setting for those currently reluctant to participate. Perhaps an activity such as this will foster camaraderie and community-building, and possibly spill into a more cohesive and less combative society.

May year’s end meet us laughing and stronger…and more committed to moving us forward.

(Photo Credit: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis)

(Photo Credit: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis)

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