Seventeen people from across The United Church of Canada participated in the Mission & Service Global Pilgrimage to Kenya, from from March 25 to April 4, 2017. The pilgrimage visited Mission & Service partners throughout the region. This series of blog posts shares the story of their journey.
Our second full day of programming in Kenya was spent with Mission & Service partner, the Program for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa, also known as PROCMURA.
PROCMURA is a pan-African Christian organization with the objective of building good relations between Christians and Muslims where communities—in spite of their differences— work together for justice, peace and reconciliation. We started the day with a trip to the Jamia Mosque in the heart of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. This was the group’s first time leaving the grounds of the All Africa Conference of Churches guest house during the daytime and it certainly was a whole other world beyond the borders of the gated community we were staying in.
After the first of many “thrilling” experiences of the roads of Nairobi, we arrived at a set of gates attached to a simple concrete building. Our host came to let us in and as we shed our shoes and the women donned our head coverings, we were directed up a flight of stairs. There set amidst the chaos of construction and a busy city was the most beautiful mosque I have ever been in! On our tour we learned much about the building itself, which was new, and the growing community that worshipped there, and then met with the imam.
Once our tour was complete it was back to the bus and on to the PROCMURA office for lunch and to learn about the structure of the organization and about some of the partnerships and programs they are working on in Nairobi and beyond. One of these programs is a master’s degree in Christian Muslim Relations at St. Paul’s University, which was our third and final stop of the day.
I think that my biggest learning from this day was the importance of education in Kenya. In Canada I don’t often use my formal title, but in Kenya I found it was important that I introduce myself as “The Rev. Sarah Grady.” Amazing isn’t it? I spent four years of my life and a large financial investment in my theological education in Canada, went through discernment and candidacy interviews, and I still sometimes feel shy about introducing myself as a minister in my homeland! I am grateful for the reminder I got of the privilege of my education, and of my calling to lead in God’s church.
—Rev. Sarah Grady, London Conference