Letter from the church council

In October we will reopen Arusha Community church after a period of what could legitimately be described as an ‘exile’. A time away from our familiar surroundings in an unfamiliar landscape. When I think of the last few months away, in a physical sense, from ACC, I am mindful of the people of Judah. On the shores of the Tigris and Euphrates, the rivers of Babylon, in exile. Of course, they were held captive by the Babylonians, taunted by their captors to sing songs of their God, whose temples had been destroyed. Our own situation has not been quite so grim, but churches are still not open in many countries, and the feeling that the Christian faith has been reduced to little more than a ‘hobby’, in some societies, can feel like a taunt to many Christians around the world.

In many senses we have found ourselves by the rivers of Babylon over the last few months. We have been confused. We have grieved for our normal life and one of our constant anchors: the church. Psalm 137 asks, in verse 4: “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” The modern equivalents are many, but could be something along the lines of: “How can we know the joy of the Eucharist via Zoom” or “How can we celebrate Easter Sunday, the most holy day in the Christian calendar, without our brothers and sisters by our sides?” Well, I believe we have found ways.

It is true that many of us have struggled during this time. Struggled to keep our focus. Struggled to be without our anchor. Struggled to be without our Sunday routine. And Psalm 137, written about the experiences of the Judean people in Babylon, can be applied, with great clarity, to our recent situation. Verses 1-4 express their grief, which is certainly the first emotion we all had. When we discussed the prospect of closing the church at a Council meeting, I confess that my initial thought was opposition. How could we contemplate such a thing? Looking back, of course, I feel we made the right call, guided by God.

I believe we all got over this initial period of grief, remembering who we are, who we serve, and what we stand for, as did the Judeans in verses 5-6. But our initial reaction remains important, as grief was a starting point from where we were able to develop our own deeper relationship with God during the period.

Jeremiah 29:7 says “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you to exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” I believe all of us have come to this point after our initial frustration: we have sought the welfare of our situation without the physical church. But, critically, and I think this is so important, we did not decide at any point that this is where we wanted to be or that we wanted to stay here. We did not forget from where we came.

The final verses of Psalm 137 are brutal. They chronicle great anger and revenge, causing us to recoil at times at the image of infants being dashed on rocks. There is no revenge to seek for our exile. Our own exile has indeed been a short one; let us exude forgiveness in Jesus’ name and let us remember that whilst it is easy to see anger in others, it is not so easy to see it in ourselves. We must be vigilant to ourselves.

When the people of Israel returned to their homes, following their exile, they found a totally different landscape. They essentially had to start again. We too are returning to a different landscape: one of social distancing, masks, online broadcasts and no tea and coffee. But God was the partner of the Judean people at that time and he is our partner too.

And, as we reopen ACC, God is calling us forward to a brighter future, one full of possibilities. For the Israelis, the coming of Jesus Christ himself lay in their future. For us now, in spite of whatever short-term, earthly, obstacles may frustrate us, we can look forward to His second coming and eternal glory.
– Michael Murray
ACC Council Secretary

“Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men, The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)

News & Events

 October 4: In-person worship, 10:30 am
Usher Training, 9:30 am
 October 19 – 24: Drop off harvest festival donations during church hours or on Saturday
 October 25: Harvest Festival



Volunteers needed

USHERS NEEDED! If you are a sensible, calm, friendly woman or man, you would make an excellent usher. Yes, women can be ushers too! Please join us for a brief time of orientation on Sunday, October 4, 9:30 am, to learn how to assist our congregation as we return to worship together.

ZOOM Hosts Needed: Are you familiar with hosting Zoom meetings? We will need a group of at least 6 capable Zoom hosts, to be sure that members can connect and join us for worship from their homes. Please contact the church office if you are able to serve once a month.

Letter from the Chair on behalf of ACC Council

Welcome back to in-person worship at ACC. ACC is following health protection guidelines, which, while I know is not any of our preferences, are being done to protect our neighbor.

The key elements are hand washing, the proper wearing of masks (over both nose and mouth please), and the distancing of seating within the sanctuary. Children over the age of 12 are also asked to wear masks. This ‘distanced seating’ does mean that seats are limited inside the sanctuary, and perhaps all those who wish, may not be able to enter. We thank you for your cooperation in following this guideline.

The services will also be on Zoom from the sanctuary, as we know that there are those who may not find seating inside; and those who wish to continue to worship at home. We also ask that if anyone is ill, or if anyone in your household is ill, to remain at home for two weeks before resuming worship in the sanctuary. If you have travelled outside of Tanzania, please also worship from home for two weeks before returning to the sanctuary.

People living together in one household may move their chairs closer together, but please retain the 1.5 meter distance to others around you. Please remember that there is no Sunday School and children have to remain with their parents or guardians throughout the service.

Over the coming months, if the situation remains the same in Arusha, the seat spacing will lessen, more people can be accommodated inside the sanctuary, and other restrictions will be removed. We pray that there may soon be the time when we can all worship together again in fullness. We place ourselves in God’s hands, relying on His mercy and love, to steer us through different times and to make good decisions regarding the safekeeping of each other’s health and safety.

– Susan Simonson

Harvest Festival, October 25, 2020

In Tanzania the Harvest Festival is traditionally celebrated as an annual event, in the same way that other countries celebrate Thanksgiving. Once the crops are harvested, the first fruits are brought to the church in gratitude and thanksgiving for all that God has provided.

This year we will be celebrating the Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 25th. We will celebrate a little differently in this unique year. We will join to give thanks to our God who has been watching over us during these difficult months that we have been physically apart. We celebrate that we are still God’s harvest, whom He has brought back into his temple. This is an opportunity to come and bring any offerings you have missed over the past months, in an act of thanksgiving.

Harvest festival contributions will be sold or auctioned off. All funds raised will be used to fill the gaps in the ACC budget caused by the lower offering income during the months we were on pause and not meeting in person. Non-perishable donations for auction/sale should be brought to church 8 am – 7 pm starting Sunday, October 18 and ending Saturday, October 24, 3 pm sharp. We will share images so our more distant ACC members can bid remotely.

Donations can include the following:
 Fruits, vegetables, flowers or grains from your shamba (traditional)
 Works of art, pieces of small furniture, tools, baked goods, fabric or kitenge, quilts, etc.
 Gift certificates: safari vouchers, birdwatching tour, a special meal, professional services. Please be creative!
 List the value of your gift on a voucher to help us better auction it.
 You may also choose to simply give a financial gift to ACC in honor of harvest festival, either on the day, or by MPESA or bank transfer.

The Harvest Festival activities will begin immediately following the Sunday service. Side tables will offer donated items for sale outside in the courtyard. Items for sale at side tables may include cakes, cookies, and other small items and can be brought Sunday morning. All proceeds of the day go to ACC. This is not a farmers’ market where people might sell goods and keep the profits themselves.

We will also share a snack outdoors in the courtyard, 11:30-noon. To respect our health protocols, PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN PACKED SNACK/LUNCH and WATER. A limited number of snack boxes will be available for people who are unable to bring food from home.

The Harvest Festival Auction will begin at noon inside the sanctuary once again. We also plan to broadcast the auction on Zoom for some members to join from home. Plan to attend and bring your donations as well as your cash so you can fully participate and enjoy the event! Harvest Festival this year will truly be one of celebrating God’s gifts and goodness in our lives and sharing some of the blessings with others. Please plan to come and join in on the festivities. There will be something there for everyone.


Thank you to the many who continue to give your tithes and offerings to ACC. Please know that these offerings are needed, appreciated and are used to help many within the community.

For anyone who wishes or needs to transfer funds via bank deposit to ACC please find the following details here:
TSH. ACCOUNT NUMBER 00 300 23 252

For anyone who wishes or needs to transfer funds via mobile money to ACC please find the following details here:
NUMBER: +255755992394
NAME: NASIEKU MOLLEL (Church Administrator)

October 2020 Service Schedule


October 4

October 11

October 18

October 25

Church Calendar

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Service Type




Family Service

Harvest Festival

Service Leader

 Rebecca Mosley

Elizabeth Hudgin

Philip Mvungi

Dr.  Wendy Willmore



Dr. Derrick Matthews

 Oliver O’Brien

 Michael Murray


 Randy  Stubbs

Vance Bicknell Miller

Ruth Bach-Svendson

Daniel Kalule

Duty Elder

Elizabeth Hudgin

Monica John

Michael Murray

Philip Mvungi


Rebecca Mosley

Tech crew



Zoom host




Jessica Shayo




Scripture Readings

Isaiah 5:1-7

Psalm 80:7-15

Philippians 3:4b-14

Matthew 21:33-46


Isaiah 25:1-9

Psalm 23

Philippians 4:1-9

Matthew 22:1-14

Isaiah 45:1-7

Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matthew 22:15-22

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

Psalm 1

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Matthew 22:34-46


Do you have a word of encouragement, favorite bible verse, inspiring or even funny story, song, poem or picture that you would like share with us ACC? 

If so, we would love to hear from you! Please send on to: arushacommunitychurch.office@gmail.com