Culture and Spirituality
In a vibrant effort to bridge the gap between culture and spirituality, the Mountain of Praise Church International, under the leadership of Bishop Ibro Zion, has embarked on a unique endeavour to celebrate diversity and unity in faith. He is organising what he termed a Cultural Service on 29 October 2023.
The text accompanying the social media flyer urges the congregants, “Are you proud of your culture? Come to service dressed in your cultural attire and be ready to bless us with your tribal song, food and beauty. Invite your family, friends and neighbours because it will be very loud ooo.”
Curious led AkweyaTV to reach out to have a conversation with Bishop Zion to uncover the inspiration behind the inaugural Cultural Service, a groundbreaking event aimed at fostering a deeper connection among the congregation and nurturing their spiritual growth.
“Why Are You Organising a Cultural Service?”
Bishop Zion, the visionary behind this initiative, believes that in our ever-evolving world, the rich blend of cultures often takes a back seat to mainstream norms.
“We live in a time where cultural norms have taken so much attention of believers to the degree that whatsoever is not from their culture does not mean much to them,” he passionately articulated. “It is in view of this that we present their respective culture to them inside the church while helping their spiritual lives to grow.”
“Is This the First Cultural Service?”
“Yes, it is the first in this Dei Dei Branch FCT ABUJA,” Bishop Zion confirms, marking this event as a milestone in the congregation’s journey.
Curious, AkweyaTV asked to know what happens during the service.
The clergyman said the Cultural Service is intended to be a dynamic celebration of diversity.
“We give room for virtually all ethnicities to sing a gospel song in their dialects while the church people dance along to praise God, especially giving preference to Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba culture,” Bishop Zion explained.
But that is not all. “At the end of the service, each member gets to taste a meal from another culture as a sign of love and cultural tolerance.”
But is A Cultural Service Necessary?
Someone may say Nigerians already bring their culture to church: their language, their music, dress code, and even food, so there is no need for a special service to mark it. This reporter asked Bishop Zion if he would agree with that assertion.
Bishop Zion vehemently disagrees, emphasising that there’s room for a wide array of special church services alongside the integration of cultural elements.
“No, I do not agree because there are several other special church services like Communion Service, Anointing Service, Thanksgiving Service, Laughter Service, Pastor’s Appreciation Service, Family and Friends Service, etc. So, one for Culture is imperative and not out of place.”
The clergyman further addressed the many people who think that Nigerian cultures are in conflict with Christianity. Bishop Zion, a staunch advocate for cultural harmony within Christianity, clarified, “The truth is everyone speaks based on the revelation knowledge at his or her disposal. While I agree that some cultural norms and practices that are extremely diabolical are against Christianity, there are still beautiful values from our respective ethnicities that resonate with Christianity.”
Improved Bonds, Improved Commitment
As we concluded our conversation, Bishop Zion shared his expectations for the Cultural Service.
“I expect the church members to bond better, especially identifying those of their respective culture. I also expect more commitment as the members now have the belief that Mountain of Praise Church International respects their traditions as well as appreciates their culture irrespective of the ethnicity.”
Hearing all these, it would become more obvious that the Cultural Service is not just a service; it’s a bridge, a platform for unity, and a testament to the power of faith in embracing diversity. With Bishop Ibro Zion’s vision at the helm, the congregation at Mountain of Praise Church International is poised to set an inspiring example for the world. As the event approaches, one can’t help but anticipate the harmonious celebration of faith, culture, and community.