Nearly ten years ago, a small group of East African refugees joined this parish. In the intervening years, the Swahili-speaking community at Heavenly Rest has grown, to the point that nearly 100 people consistently attend the 1:00 service in Swahili. Moreover, Heavenly Rest has become a center of East African culture and community in Abilene. Last year, we celebrated this with Tamasha la wa Africa (“Celebration of Africa”), a festival of African music, cuisine, and culture. It didn’t take long for those who organized the festival to decide that it should be an annual event.
This year, Tamasha la wa Africa will take place from 4:00 to 7:00 on Saturday, September 24 at Heavenly Rest. Our theme this year is “Pamoja,” or “Unity”. The festival will include a concert by our Alleluia Choir and other ensembles from around Abilene at 4:00 in the Nave, a craft fair and demonstrations of East African cuisine and culture at 5:00 in Gerhart Hall and the Courtyard, and a second concert at 6:00 in the Nave. You are encouraged to participate in any or all of these events, and to invite your friends!