The First Day of Christmas

posted by Mike on December 26th, 2014

Many writers have noted that, in terms of national and international news, 2014 was a bad one. (It was a tough year for me, too.) Advent didn’t give us a break. I’d like to think we’re due for a couple good months.

The best way to shorten winter is to prolong Christmas; and the only way to enjoy the sun of April is to be an April Fool.
GK Chesterton

Read the rest of this entry »

Merry Christmas!

posted by Mike on December 26th, 2011

Hope all the P&C readers out there had a good Christmas.

I’m sure there’s a technical term for how the viewer separates the artwork from the background. I love taking creche photos in part because the background is so often completely inappropriate, and occasionally accidentally appropriate. Here, NO TRESPASSING and BEWARE OF THE DOG are a “No room at the inn” for our time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Holy Week church-hopping and other items

posted by Mike on April 23rd, 2011

The day before Holy Week began, I attended a wedding at St. Columba’s United Reformed Church in Oxford, UK. St. Columba’s is down an alley near some of the Oxford colleges. It’s a normal sort of church inside, with a vestibule and facade that make it look like an office building.

Most churches stand out. St. Columba’s is hidden. Attending church there was like going to a house mass—nobody walking past suspects you’re going to a sacred gathering.

(Best wishes to the bride and groom—your lovely wedding is an auspicious start to your lives together.)
Read the rest of this entry »

Salvation Army, Kibera, Nairobi

posted by Mike on January 9th, 2011


Today, at the invitation of a friend of a friend, I went to worship with the Salvation Army in the Kibera neighborhood. Read the rest of this entry »

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Merry post-Christmas!

posted by Mike on December 29th, 2010

As predicted, we welcomed Christmas on the road, but within a few hours were in the arms of family, and had a very lovely Christmas day.

We celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family at St. Austin’s Parish in Nairobi, Kenya, where the church was packed, the music lovely, and the homily namechecked Facebook.

No photographs of the church, I’m sorry to say, but continuing my long-running “quirky creche” series, here are a couple of nativity scenes that caught my eye this week.


The household nativity scene above is pretty standard, except for the Godzilla-sized sheep lurking behind it. “You should see the shepherds….””


This one is at the Mwangaza Jesuit Centre. There are several pieces of fantastic religious sculpture there, but our subject today is nativity scenes, so here it is. I like that the shepherd is playing some sort of bagpipes, and also that the background decor is made of gift wrapping paper and Christmas lights. Nice touches, which I’ll keep in mind next time I help make a creche.

Tony Blair Converts to Catholicism

posted by Adam (Southern California) on December 23rd, 2007

The Catholic Church welcomes the former British prime minister into our community. I was surprised to learn from the article that there are more Catholic churchgoers than Anglicans in the U.K.

posted by Adam (Southern California) in Itinerant Communicant, Religion | on December 23rd, 2007 | Permanent Link to “Tony Blair Converts to Catholicism” | 5 Comments »

Eucharistic Congress, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

posted by Mike on August 18th, 2007

Today Margie Pfeil and I went to the diocesan Eucharistic Congress held at Notre Dame. The day started with a very nice ecumenical prayer service at the basilica.

Read the rest of this entry »