Friday, 03. November 2017

Sunday School in Tanzania - Three Questions for ...

... the student Frank Fabian Daffa


How do children's worship services take place in the church in Tanzania?

Sunday school is an integral part of child parenting in Tanzanian Christian families. Thus, their service is organized in a manner that prepares these children to know and enjoy the Christian Faith, but also to make them aware of normal congregational activities and musical groups. This service in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) is made possible by the church's organized Sunday school books "Tufundishe Watoto" (let's teach children) 1st, 2nd and 3rd book. These are specifically structured to accommodate different age groups. Children start Sunday school with the age of 3 or 4 years and go up to 12 or 13 years. Therefore, teaching materials are divided according to the age groups i.e junior group ca. 3 - 5 years old, middle group 6 - 9 years old and seniors 10 - 13 years old. From the age of 10 to 13 years, children attend the two years confirmation classes but still join the Sunday school classes.

The service usually begins and ends with a prayer made by a Sunday. Apart from the short biblical stories, this service also constitutes many songs that are sung during and after they give their offerings. Sunday school teacher collaborates with the children to organize songs and arrange voices in the choir. A child member conducts the performances while accompanied with a drum rhythm together with hand claps from all other kids as they joyfully sing. Children can also create a small group and prepare a song, poem or, theatrical piece that they can present in front of other children.

What are the current topics of children in Tanzania?

The current theme is "friends of God in the book of Old Testament". In which, Joseph's story is told to demonstrate God's friendship with Joseph and his family. It is also a part of the preparation for the church celebration that's called Mikaeli na Watoto or Watoto na Malaika (Angels and children).

This is a children's feast that takes place every year on the fifteenth Sunday after trinity. Michael is an angel celebrated by children as their friend and protector. On this day children take the roles of a pastor and church elders. They lead the service and say prayers for the congregation and other children worldwide. Parents and the whole congregation prepare and celebrate this day together with their children. The Feast of Mikaeli na Watoto this year 2017 will take place in September.

What connects children worldwide?

In many Sunday school songs, God's love is expressed and acknowledged to surpass the regional borders. Through prayers, Tanzanian Children remember other children worldwide who are socially disadvantaged and those who lost their families in different circumstances.

They play games and enjoy songs. On weekends, many help their parents and visit relatives from the big family. Playing football or hide and seek, cooking games, and telling stories, are some of the fun moments that children enjoy together.