On Pentecost Sunday, churches in Kananga have a tradition of giving a special offering of gifts to their pastors. On this Sunday, the pastors also exchange pulpits, so that each pastor is preaching in a church other than his normal parish. It is a wonderful way of encouraging the pastors, and it is a significant effort that the congregations exert to pull it off.
In the parish where we worship, designated leaders started raising awareness about this event and collecting funds a month ago. A few people in each neighborhood visited the homes of members to collect their contribution. In a church in the city of Kananga, the total offering on a Sunday is typically less than $20, and a pastor receives about 40% of that as salary. In smaller churches and those in rural areas, the offering is much less. So, this designated day of giving gifts to the pastor is a huge encouragement to them in the midst of the challenges of living on a very small salary.
Each of the neighborhood small groups in the parish pool their resources of money, flour, charcoal, clothing, or other items to share with the pastor’s family. During the service, there is a designated time when the gifts are presented (although the pastor is not present because he is visiting another parish). It is impressive to see the women dance down the aisle with these huge loads on their heads!
So many of the church members are struggling to feed their families and make ends meet. Yet, we continue to be impressed at the generosity and hospitality that is often shown in spite of that need. May God help us to imitate the generosity and sacrifice of these Christians in Kananga!
A collection of the gifts given at our parish. The pastor lives about 5 km
from the church and does not have a vehicle—we are not sure how he got it home!