Sunday, August 02, 2009

Worship and Relaxation

After the longest Saturday in my life, finally, it is Sunday! In the Cook Islands it is a day of Worship and relaxation. When in Rome do as the Romans do. We jumped out of bed, put on our smartest clothes (no bare arms, no bare legs!) had a quick tropical breakfast and waited for the Church bus outside reception.

There are a few churches on the island but the two that the bus goes to are the large Christian Church and the tiny Catholic St Mary's. We decided to go to St Mary's today. It is linked to St Josephs Primary School which is the same name as the kids school in Australia. We got there early and watched two island girls of a similar age to Sian get ready to Alter Serve. We said hello to them but they were very shy. Half the small congregation looked like visitors and half were islanders. The Mass was in English and involved song after song with occasional prayers in between!

The singing was truly amazing. The first hymn was a familiar one we sing at St Josephs in Kilaben Bay. There was a mixture of hymns in English, traditional cook Islands language and The Beatles! We sat in the same pew as some of the Islanders and when wishing peace instead of lots of handshakes there were big hugs and kisses all round! Poor Byron looked a little outside his I-am-not-a-regular-church-goer-and-never-plan-on-being comfort zone! I pressed record on the sound mike of my camera during one of the songs and it captured a 60 second sound clip. I have no idea if I can upload it here at some stage. It would be great if I could but it might have to wait until we are home from our holiday to sort out.

After Mass our bus driver was waiting for us and brought us to the Christian Church to wait
for their service to finish. We were invited to join them in a tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes and fruit feast. It was so welcoming and generous of them. Not just the quantity of food but the effort that had gone in to making the homemade sandwiches and cakes. When we talked to some of the visitors that had been at the Christian service they strongly recommended we try to go next Sunday. They said it was 90% in the Islanders language and the songs were deafening! It gave a fantastic insight into the tradition and culture of the Rarotongans that you cant get from walking around a resort.

And so, home to the second half of our day, Full time Relaxation!

2 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. The pictures look wonderful! What a great vacation...and I love your worship experiences. I've always enjoyed experiencing the traditions of other faith groups in other places. I arrived in Tokyo and my husband will be here tomorrow. Woohoo! Happy vacationing!

  2. Enjoy Tokyo Carrie. Bet you are really excited!