An International Day to Rembember in Dundee

An International Day to Rembember in Dundee

Dundee, ScotlandBankole Davies-Browne, Photos: Jimmy Botha

Dundee Seventh-day Adventist church celebrated a vibrant and colourful International Day on the first Sabbath of December. International Day is always a high day in Dundee. As a community we embrace the opportunity to celebrate our diversity in worship, music, traditional costumes and diverse national cuisines.  Our theme for 2023 was “Christ First.”  Certainly, there were few first-time experiences. Dundee Seventh-day Adventist church has never celebrated an international day in December but this time with the go ahead from the board, it happened. That Saturday morning it snowed but many who have journeyed from different parts of Scotland made it safely to Dundee. It was the first time we had Moldovan representation.  For our musical item it was the first time we had an instrumental presentation by a group of Pathfinders from Crieff church.  Finally, it was the first time we have our Polish family from Crieff church, the Wiechs, taught the congregation to sing in Polish with some help with pronunciation.  

More than 21 countries from four continents were represented. The Sabbath surely had an international flavour to it, the day was punctuated by various contributions from the different countries represented.   It started with Sabbath School as Elder Rector Mukwiri from Uganda facilitated the lesson study. The main service commenced at 11:15 am with a flag parade accompanied by the music to “We have this Hope” played by Deborah Bidaut from the United States.   

Our guest speaker, Pastor Jacques Venter who is the Scottish Mission executive greeted all in Afrikaans followed by Pastor Njay’s warm and enthusiastic welcome to all who attended as well as those online.  The rest of the service was sprinkled with a variety of special musical items.  The Pathfinder septet from Crieff consisting of two cellos, three violins, one flute and one piano gave a beautiful rendition of “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart” and “As the Dear Pants for the Water.” The performance was a source of inspiration for all the parents who were present. We were uplifted by songs from the Nigerian, Ghanaian and Zimbabwean groups; a special song by Violina from Moldova who sang in Romanian, and another special item by two of our youths, Ropa and Naomi.  It is exciting to see how aspects of varying cultures oozed through the lyrics and singing styles. The Ghanaian groups got the congregation jiving during their musical item with their traditional dance moves. We also celebrated our diversity in praying. Our prayer session commenced with the Lord’s prayer in Polish, then a general prayer in Gujarati and English, the congregation concluded our prayer session with the Lord’s prayer.  The scripture passage for the divine service, a well- known passage from Galatians 2:19-21, was engagingly read in Scots, then Ukrainian, Hungarian and Spanish.

We were looking forward to Professor Noodlebrain’s story.  She is a vivacious storyteller, and we were not disappointed. The “Crocodiles” or “jumping on rocks” story had the usual added dimension to the professor’s story. The props were a banana, an empty Irn Bru can and a glass of water. The moral of the story is about faith—having faith in something or someone. A small amount of water to balance the tin illustrated how faith as small as a mustard seed can be powerful.  

Pastor Venter did a persuasive exposition on a scripture passage from Galatians 2: 19-21 bringing to the fore what it really means to have faith like Abraham. Putting Christ first is easier said than done hence the apt title of his message, “For the Rickety Faithful.” When we put Jesus first things don’t suddenly improve.  Pastor Venter defined faith as an act of ridiculous courage –a gift we must give. The good news is that it was Jesus who first took the risk irrespective your faith even if it is rickety. He described putting Christ first as the willingness to trust in Him, His love and grace because he is the son of God regardless of what tomorrow brings. The message resonated with many. It was timely and hopeful amidst our struggle to be faithful. It was spiritual food for all those who attended and the many who watched online.  

The Barrie Centre was buzzing with life, the table was set, the international ambience was palpable as those who attended caught up with each other over the delicious Sabbath lunch. The delicacies were mouth-watering. We were spoiled for choice due to the varied national dishes. I enjoyed the hot and fried spicy spaghetti from Ghana, the stuffed Peppers, a Romanian dish, fried plantain and jollof rice from West Africa, and Potatoes Salad and cabbage dishes from Eastern Europe. Not mentioning pudding. Wow! We are grateful to Sister Priscila and her team for orchestrating such a display.  Finally, we give thanks to God for another opportunity to celebrate our diversity in a special way.