Leslie Weed-Fonner and Michael G Fonner
Women’s Sunday worship March 1 at the Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation.
The Rev. Michael Fonner serves Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation and Leslie Weed-Fonner works with the Pangani Lutheran Children’s Center. To support these ELCA missionaries in Kenya, click here. To support another of the more than 240 ELCA missionaries in the global church, click here.
Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation had an absolutely wonderful Women’s Sunday worship celebration on March 1!
A little background: The Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church, the ELCA’s companion church body, designates the first Sunday in March as Women’s Sunday in concert with the global ecumenical celebration of the World Day of Prayer. We adapt the liturgy and theme from the World Day of Prayer and work to make it informative and relevant to our setting.
This year’s theme was the Bahamas, and we learned about the beauty of those islands, the special needs that Bahamian women have, and how the people of the Bahamas are striving to care for their precious natural environment.
This was our third Women’s Sunday here in Kenya. At the first, we had a regular worship service led by the male pastor with a woman preacher. At the second, an ELCA seminary-educated woman Kenyan pastor took a strong lead and led the service.
This year Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation women were firmly and wonderfully in control of both planning and execution: leading the liturgy, saying the prayers, doing the children’s message, and having the sermon by a local woman leader of International Bible Study Fellowship.
The women read through the liturgy, which was provided by the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Women’s Desk, and it was exciting to see that one woman specially wanted to pray for the preservation of the Bahamian seas, while another woman wanted to pray for health care of Bahamian girls and women, while yet another woman wanted to pray for women and children, particularly single women raising children, and so on. It was our sense that these Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation women felt a sisterly closeness to the concerns for which they were praying on behalf of people, especially women, in the Bahamas.
A key goal of ours as we serve at Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation and with the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church is to transition the congregation to local leadership after many years of leadership by Americans. Women’s Sunday was not only a terrific celebration for, of and by women at Nairobi International Lutheran Congregation, but it was also a striking moment of leadership by strong, local women. Thanks be to God!