The joy of a lone African in an “all-white” church
I was horrified to watch the brutal killing of the US citizen George Floyd by a fellow citizen, a police officer, on the streets of Minneapolis on Monday 25 May 2020. At the same time that I decry the abhorrent deeds of a police officer of European descent against an individual of African descent, I think it will be catastrophic to sterilise the matter into a kind of racial war between Europeans and Africans.
Even as I write, there are millions of Europeans and Africans enjoying life together as couples, working colleagues, humanitarian workers etc.
There are, indeed, problems between sections of both communities. We should, however, learn to put matters in the
In this regard, I want to share with the global community the incredible kindness and favours I received from Americans of European descent, members of the American Lutheran Church in Berlin, where I worshipped during my stay in the then divided Berlin between 1982 and 1984.
I had arrived there as an asylum-seeker. Handicapped by my lack of knowledge of the German language, I was on the lookout for an English-speaking church to worship with.
On a stroll through the centre of the city., my attention was drawn to a tall Victorian-style church building, partly destroyed at the top.
It happened to be an attraction, for there were considerable comings and goings into the building by sightseers who had taken advantage of the good weather to stroll the streets. Out of curiosity, I joined the queue of those wishing to enter the building.
Once inside the building, I spotted a table with bunches of leaflets. One of them happened to be from the America Lutheran church in Berlin. English-speaking visitors to the city were being invited to join them in Sunday worship. I did not hesitate in calling the number. Eventually, Gary, the pastor directed me to the church. I worshipped with them the following Sunday.
As it turned out, I was the only person of African descent worshipping with them. I was heartily welcomed by the
congregation. Eventually, I became a member. Later I introduced several other Ghanaian asylum-seekers to the church. In the end, it became quite well known to the Ghanaian refugee community in Berlin. I spent 18 months in West Berlin before moving to Hanover to study medicine. Not only did I enjoy the company of the congregation. When I gained admission to study medicine, I received financial support from them too. Even to this day, Irecall the wonderful brand-new bike presented to me by one of the members.
It is utopic to think we can completely eradicate racial prejudice and hatred from the surface of an imperfect world. It is important, however, that we do the little we can to promote understanding among mankind.
** Taken from the book: STOP CALLING HUMANS BLACK AND WHITE
Stop Calling Humans Black & White!
Copyright Robert Peprah-Gyamfi, 2020. All rights reserved