Merry Christmas!

posted by Mike on January 7th, 2011

Enough of this pre-Christmas and post-Christmas blogging; today is Orthodox Christmas.

Last night I stopped by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Nairobi a few hours before Christmas mass, which I considered attending but was warned off from by a couple non-Amharic-speakers.


Here’s a photo of the inside I took at the urging of a member of the congregation. The painting of the three bearded men depicts the Trinity. I was told that the TV screen, though not working at present, is intended to give people a view of what’s happening in the inner sanctuary when the curtain is closed.

I love watching people showing up for Ethiopian mass, the women in white packed into cars, emerging like circus clowns turning into butterflies.
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Friends Meeting, Nairobi

posted by Mike on January 6th, 2011

Last Sunday I stopped by the Quakers on Ngong Road in Nairobi for the mostly-silent “unprogrammed worship.” This is one of the few religious services where I feel obtrusive—it’s like sitting in at an AA meeting when you’re not part of that community.


The unprogrammed worship didn’t go very long, so we walked over to another building where they hold, you guessed it, “programmed worship.” I had no idea such a thing existed. It’s similar to an evangelical service. (Though on the tamer side.)

One more surprising fact: Kenya has the most Quakers of any nation. I am told that the Ngong Road congregation is mostly Luhya.

Christmas pageant, Pleasant Street Baptist Church, Dec 12

posted by Mike on December 9th, 2010

If you only see one Christmas pageant this year, make it the one at Pleasant Street Baptist Church: 5pm, Sunday, December 12, Pleasant and Ashland, Worcester, Massachusetts.


Starring Bruce “Snow Ghost” Russell as “a wise man—or a wise guy.”

508 #132: Relics

posted by Mike on October 15th, 2010

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s panel includes Jen Burt, the Venerable Man Shing, and Brendan Melican.


Audio: mp3 link, other formats, feed

Video: Downloads and other formats

Contact info.
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Flower festival, Japanese Buddhist temple, Washington, D.C.

posted by Mike on April 5th, 2009

Palm Sunday mass was not the only important religious ceremony I attended this weekend. At the temple in DC where I’ve been living, today was the annual celebration of Buddha’s birthday, the “flower festival” or hana-matsuri. It’s also the 35th anniversary of this temple, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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Tapestries at the Cathedral

posted by Adam (Southern California) on March 1st, 2009

On Ash Wednesday I attended Mass and received ashes at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Many criticized its building as an extravagant expenditure, and some traditionalists have criticized the modernist architecture of the mother church of Los Angeles, which opened in 2002, and I don’t entirely disagree with these criticisms. About the design, however, it must be said that the interior is far more welcoming than the stark exterior and does a much better job of focusing the visitor’s attention on God.

In particular, there are lovely 18-foot-tall woven tapestries all along the north and south walls of the nave depicting the Communion of the Saints as a crowd of people, individually recognizable and identified, gazing toward the altar. These are truly moving — proof that people can still make great sacred art. The artist (John Nava) painted them using a realistic “old master” style, then digitized the images and programmed a computerized loom to make the tapestries, producing an effect that is both classic and very immediate.


If you click on “art” and then “tapestries” on the cathedral’s website, you can read more info and click on the thumbnails to zoom in on a couple of the individual panels.

posted by Adam (Southern California) in Houses of Worship, Lent | on March 1st, 2009 | Permanent Link to “Tapestries at the Cathedral” | 1 Comment »