Collection #8: Family Chapel (Pentecostal Church)

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Dressed in traditional fabric, I entered Family Chapel: one of Ghana’s rising mega-churches. The interior of the church was large enough to fit several hundred, and was filled mostly by parishioners between the ages of eighteen and forty.

At the front of the church, a mourning woman in black and white expressed her passion for Christ through song, accompanied by a large band with multiple electric guitars, drums, and keyboards. On every pew, people danced and clapped as if at a live concert. My host sister, Nancy, pressed her head to the nearby wall in a surge of passion, and the young Ghanaians around me lifted their hands in praise.

In Ghana, music plays an enormous role within churches of every denomination: engaging its members and drumming them into states of spiritual ecstasy, as it did in traditional ceremonies many centuries ago.

Despite the welcoming community and phenomenal music, I felt no more Christian when I left than when I came. Ever the stubborn skeptic, I kept my distance from the Christ-fearing world, and so felt nothing but curiosity for the swaying bodies around me.

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