Day 8 – time for Church


Having seen so many impressive and inventive church structures while walking throughout Cape Coast, i am glad to be able to have a moment to experience being part of a congregation…J (waitstaff at Cape Coast) invites me to his church (Christian Life Cathedral) for Thursday healing service…G and J happen to know each other and so G accompanies me to pick up J from his place and head over to the Church…

it is raining and seems to be very fitting to be part of a healing service…
the church is packed! the service begins at 9:30am and ends when the last person in need of healing is attended to…i am told that the pastor used to end at 12:30pm, but due to the increasing need for healing has extended the service to accomodate…
unlike the Catholic, Anglican and Mormon churches with their impressive stature, Christian Life Cathedral is not Cathedral-like at all….the growing number of attendees has called for extensions to be created on either side of the structure and tarps to cover/protect the guests from rain or sun or other weather elements…

though this ‘church’ is not as grand as the others, it is spiritually one of the most impressive spaces i have experienced….everyone is tuned into the pastors words as he flows from English to one of the many local languages…sometimes translated by another member of his pastoral team, sometimes only translated through a ‘feeling’ or sensation….the music is a mixture of gospel like rhythms and gregorian chanting…i am spellbound…and swayed by the depth of emotion and community inside this moment…the pastor calls on those in need of healing and first, in groups, they come to a semicircle around the pastor’s stand…the ‘pastoral team’ positions themselves behind the members as the pastors calls out the pain or anguish of the inflicted souls…some fall out while others simply bow their heads and take in the Pastor’s chanting….those that get the ‘spirit’ and attended to by one of team, while others who have sought healing but have stayed grounded, return to their seat and pray…..at one point each one of us goes up to be anointed by the pastor and i wonder if i would be sent into a ‘spiritual’ possession as one of the many members whom has sought healing is going through….i too sense my own need to heal but restrain from falling under and hold onto G’s hand for support and grounding…

we leave before the service is over – as J has to go to work ( at the hotel they work 7 days a week – no time off allotted- but alternate between working the day shift (7am – 4) or nite (2 – 10)…as i head out i am called on by one of the pastoral team to state my purpose of the visit…i tell them i was invited by a member and was inspired by what i witness and experienced…they said the pastor would wish for me to come back and meet with him ….i agree that i would try…

the spirit of Cathedral Life Cathedral still resounds within me as i continue throughout the day… i begin to appreciate and acknowledge the goodness i see in my new friends… J and V from the hotel wait staff [as well as A and J who work the front desk] G particularly has been so good to me…he has shown me around, guided me to Assin Manso; when i want to buy a particular top as this “closed” shop, he finds out where the owner lives, takes me there and has the owner open the shop for me…G even clipped my finger and toenails and washed my clothes! “he is going to make a good husband to some woman some day” are his own words… indeed G will!

i also become conscious of my connection to the men in this area and lack of interaction with the women…the few Ghanaian women i have been in much contact with work at the Hotel and it has not been that pleasant….while i was at the service i saw mostly women there and ONLY women who came up for healing….is this intimacy that i was having with the men something i lacked in the states? in America i have very strong powerful women in my life as friends and mother figures and associates, but i questioned the relations i have had with men? these reflections i continue to ponder over as i continued along this journey…i came here to immerse myself in memories of the slave castles and neighboring areas and it has awakened deeper thoughts of connections and relations to people of the African diaspora in my own life…

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Author: Barak adé Soleil

creative practitioner, independent consultant and curator. making dance, performance art and theatre. working within community.

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