Rhode Island: A colorful expression of fervent faith at R.I Convention Center

PH-405009998The Providence Journal – By Mark Reynolds, Providence, R.I. — The top floor of the Rhode Island Convention Center resounded with the song of more than 2,000 Easter celebrants Sunday morning during a marathon prayer service that brought eclectic dress, a distinctive dialect and fervent worship to downtown Providence.
The Pentecost worshipers, most with ties to the African nation of Ghana, had come from across the Northeast, donning suits and ornate dresses for three days of festivities that culminated in Sunday’s 16-part service of more than four hours.
The call to worship for this service, titled “Reconciled By His Blood,” unfolded more than two hours into the celebration, around 10:30 a.m.
“Onyami ama ya anwu!” yelled one of the convention’s hosts, the Rev. Joseph Antwi, who holds the title of New England pastor for the Church of Pentecost USA.
Mr. Antwi, who was supported by a thundering electronic sound system, repeated the phrase, which means “God has sustained us.” The men and women in the convention hall also repeated the phrase, in song.
Many held their arms in the air. Some knelt. Some bent over their chairs in prayer.
“God has sustained us,” Mr. Antwi said. “Left with the enemy, we would have been put to shame. … By the grace of God, we are what we are, and we praise your name.”
Like other Christians around Rhode Island, the members of this Pentecost denomination believe that after Jesus Christ died on a cross, he came back to life on Easter and demonstrated that faithful people can look forward to eternal life.
Unlike many other Easter celebrations in the region, this one took place in a convention center. The setting, with no stained glass or crucifixes on the walls, was ideal, according to Emmanuel Maclord Ansah, a Pentecost deacon from Lodi, N.J. That’s because these church members do not believe in such symbols, Ansah said.
“Wherever you are, God is there,” he said. “That’s what we believe.”
While the event was light on religious symbols, it was rich in fashion. Nearly everyone at the ceremony had paid close attention to their attire, whether they wore clothes from Macy’s or brightly colored dresses sewn in colorful fabrics from Ghana.
Georgina Brobbey, 49, of Glastonbury, Conn., sews her own dress each year.
This year, she picked out a blue lace at Jordan Fabrics and carefully stitched the material into a long skirt, a matching top and a crown-like headpiece. The design incorporated long strings of silvery sequins.
Brobbey, a certified nursing assistant, immigrated to the United States from Ghana in 1997 and married her husband, Paul Brobbey, in 1998.
Read Full Story

Tags: Rhode Island

About Author

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*