Letter from the church council

Olney is a small town of around 7,000 people in the county of Buckinghamshire in the South East of England. I have never been there, but I know of the place on account of the Olney Hymns, published in February 1779, the combined work of John Newton and William Cowper. ‘Amazing Grace’, which we all know well, is the most famous of the Olney hymns, although around six of them have survived to be regular parts of modern church services.

But Olney, however, is most famous for an event which happened back as long ago as 1445. On Shrove Tuesday of that year, the shriving bell (a bell to call the faithful to confession before the solemn season of lent) rang out and caught a certain young lady off guard, still cooking pancakes in her kitchen. Legend has it that, not wanting to be late for church, she grabbed her hat and scarf before running through the streets of Olney in her apron, frying pan in hand, tossing the pancake as she went to prevent it getting burned.

Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) is the gateway to lent. It’s a day when, traditionally in many countries, households clear out their eggs, milk, flour and butter (as well as other rich foods) ahead of the prayer, fasting and giving which will take place over the next forty days. And what better (or tastier) way to get rid of these particular ingredients than to make them into pancakes?

Today, the town of Olney plays host every year to (possibly) the world’s most famous annual pancake race. The rules are simple: ladies run from the market place to the church of St Peter and St Paul, a distance of around 400 metres. They must wear an apron, hat and scarf and carry a frying pan with a pancake in it. The pancake must be tossed at least three times during the race and the winner is the first lady to arrive at the church and receive a kiss from the verger.

All these fun and games, however, are just a warmup for the very serious Christian season of lent, which is a period of 46 days (40 not counting Sundays) when we, as Christians, have our annual opportunity to experience a spiritual spring. In fact, the word ‘lent’ derives from the Middle English term ‘lenten’, literally meaning the (season of) spring. Like the season, lent is a time of new beginnings, new growth and is a time for us to get fit again to live the life of a Christian. Lent is also a time of sacrifice, but we should carefully consider why we are sacrificing things. For example, if we seek to disconnect from social media during lent (not a bad idea when we look at how much of our time it eats up), we should seek to better use this time with our friends, families and especially with God in prayer. If we replace our social media consumption with more time watching football, then what have we really gained?

At the beginning of lent, on February 26th, we celebrated Ash Wednesday in a lovely evening service here at ACC. Our heads were marked with the sign of the cross, in ash, and we heard the words “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. This humbling message reminds us, in the words of Rev Allana C. Sullivan of the Harvard Memorial Church, that:

“What we keep at bay becomes the very thing our faith depends on. By admitting our own finitude we see God’s infinitude, confronting death brings us new life, knowing our limits gives us freedom, and through the mess of dust we come to know the holy.”
Each week in church, as God’s faithful children, we remember and celebrate the most significant event in the history of this earth: the resurrection of Jesus. And on Easter Sunday we, and the wider community, pay special attention to this miracle. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and restored our relationship with God. His resurrection is a further guarantee that he has defeated death, and that all Christians will one day be resurrected with him. And if that doesn’t get you excited then I don’t know what will.

Happy Easter everyone!

– Michael Murray, Secretary, ACC Church Council

News & Events

The disease COVID-19, caused by the novel corona virus, has been confirmed in Arusha. Gathering in groups, including for worship, poses a great risk of spreading this disease in our community and beyond.

Regular worship and Sunday School are temporarily suspended at ACC.

This decision will be regularly reviewed by Council to see when it is the best time to resume congregational worship.
Our mission statement states that we seek to bring Christian praise and witness to God through worship, service (to others) and study. We can continue to do these in creative ways as we ‘socialize from a distance’.

Please check our website acc.or.tz and Facebook page (Arusha Community Church) for any updates.

ACC Council 2020

The ACC Church council pictured above at their annual day-long retreat.
From left: Philip Mvungi, Neil Rowe Miller, Rebecca Mosley, Eliel Gideon, Susan Simonson, Erwin Kinsey, Elizabeth Hudgin, Michael Murray, Monica John; Seated: Doreen Marandu, Christopher Kenyi.others.

To reach any council member with questions or for congregational care, email arushacommunitychurch.office@gmail.com

ACC Bank Details

Your offerings can always be deposited into our bank account. See details below:

TSH. ACCOUNT NUMBER 00 300 23 252

New ACC Administrator

Please welcome Vivi-Lillian Nasieku Mollel, ACC’s new administrator (pictured above).

Vivi, an ACC member, started work on 1 March. She is a true East African as her mama is a Tanzanian Maasai and her father is a Kenyan. She loves music ( a member of ACC’s choir), cooking and helping others. She is most proud of her daughter, Stephanie, who is in Form 5 at Kilakala in Morogoro.

“This was my prayer point many years ago, to serve God more closely. God answered me with a great BANG with this job. I will not take it for granted and will give my all to this work!”

-Vivi-Lillian, 15 March, 2020

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.