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The Baptism of Jane's son in the church of Abuja

Published Apr 18, 2018

A Muslim and an irreligious attending the baptism in Nigerian church.

The baptism was on Sunday and the invitation was for all colleagues. It was the baptism of Jane’s son and the reception in her house would follow.

Baptism in Abuja, March 2017.

Around 10 in the morning we arrived I the church where other Nigerian people had started to arrive to attend Sunday’s service. Everybody was dressed in formal clothes and women were wearing one of these extravagant hats.

My friends Sara, Stephen and I were there to attend the ceremony. When more people had arrived, Sunday’s service started with a few minutes delay. We were asked to wear a kind of scarf on our head and we did as a respect to the religious customs. We borrowed two scarfs and we attended the service and the pastor’s preaching.

At some point and while the pastor was speaking quite... passionate, maybe sometimes yelling, I realized that Sara is Muslim, and I don’t follow any religion but we are here both listening what pastor says about Jesus only truth. I smiled, and I realized that religion shouldn’t be a barrier in these cases.

Sara and I with the scarf on our head.

After that, the pastor called the parents and their babies to come closer to offer the baptism. The pastor is wearing a bright white uniform and he throws some water on the baby’s arms and on the legs. Maybe some more on his forehead and on his cheeks. He is holding the baby very softly and he is trying not to make him scared or crying. This would never be the case in a Greek Orthodox church where the baby is dipped into the water and of course in most of the cases is fearful and crying.

In the end, the pastor is calling all of us to approach him. Everybody is dancing, people make offerings to Jane and to her husband, and the ceremony ends with the pastor’s blessings to all the people.

Later on, we got at Jane’s house where the guests are arriving for the baptism reception. Everybody enjoys the music, the nice local food and the drinks under the hot weather of Abuja.

Maro Verli letters