Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black Methodists for Church Renewal’s Harambee 2011

 Janee Moses: "The young people were alert and excited during Harambee."
Photo: Marilyn Higgins  
Harambee, a Kiswahili word meaning, "Let's come together," effectively describes my experience as a participant of Black Methodists for Church Renewal's (BMCR) Harambee 2011. I have participated in many Harambee events through the Children's Defense Funds' Freedom School and other youth training programs. 

Although I was familiar with the origin of Harambee as well as the positive impact that the cheers and chants have on the most eager and even the most distant young people, I was not prepared for the inclusion of the spiritual component of BMCR’s Harambee.

We began every morning with cheers and chants. The young people were alert and excited during Harambee. The remnants of their sluggish movements and drooping eyes disappeared when the facilitator shouted "ROCK HARAMBEE." The display of enthusiasm was touching because it truly encompassed the theme of the conference. Day after day, the youth eagerly came together.  

Worship and praise followed Harambee. The first day was a struggle for the young people as well as myself, as we were not familiar with the transition that would occur. 

Young people embark on spiritual
growth at Harambee Conference.
Photo: Marilyn Higgins 
However, by the second day, everyone was ready to enter into the presence of the Lord while continuing to stay together. There was no doubt that God met us in the Kendall Center at Philander Smith College. The evolution that I saw among the young people as they willingly submitted to the spiritual process from Wednesday through Sunday was amazing. In addition, I am especially grateful for the spiritual growth that I was able to experience as a result of being a part of the Harambee Conference.

Spiritual development accompanied by the enjoyment of like-minded acquaintances created an atmosphere of peace and laughter. The joy was extremely high throughout the conference and miraculously masked the sleepiness of the staff who cooperated diligently to ensure that every spiritual, physical, material, and mental need of the youth was met.  Each coach, personal trainer, coordinator, and administrator operated selflessly for a total of 120 hours, over the course of five days. 

"The flow of spiritual and
social knowledge enhanced
the overall experience."
Photo: Marilyn Higgins
Furthermore, the flow of spiritual and social knowledge enhanced the overall experience and stimulated the development of every participant. Our theme, "Running with Passion Towards Leadership and Purpose," remained at the forefront of our minds. I truly believe that each and every young person, as well as the adult leaders and chaperones, all began the process of successfully running toward their unique and important purpose.

For more information on BMCR's Harambee, go to: bmcrumc.org.

This blog was written by Janee Moses who is interning at Better Community Development, Inc., in Little Rock, Arkansas (hosts of the 2k11 National Harambee).

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