By Kenneth Jura | Kenya
Nicole made sure she had nicely put our children’s birth certificates in the many pockets of her handbag. Angie on the other hand put on her recently acquired red pair of wedges with a nice floral dress with a slit not too long to reveal but decently short to expose her legs. Two days earlier a call had come through from a lady who referred to herself as Imelda, the church’s secretary.
“Am I speaking to Mr. Jura? This is Imelda the church secretary. I am calling to inform you about a meeting that you must attend together with your family so that your children can be baptized.”
She was quite stern although courteous.
“10am is the meeting time,” she added.
Angie was in a foul mood all the way to the church, each time asking and speculating why we had to be subjected to back and forth from the church. Nicole comforted her by telling her to stay calm and not stress about it as all would go on well. Mid-way we met the middle aged man who was snoring in church and later told the congregants how tough his marriage life was. We all stared at him feigning forgetfulness of the events in church last Sunday. He seemed quite elated and even afforded to wave. Angie immediately asked us how tough life was yet be quite awesome in equal degree.
The church compound was half full with vehicles of all kinds but what caught our attention was a lustrous black metallic Audi Q7 Quattro with 17 inch black rims and red brake pads. “Can you be a pastor for a day? Nicole said this owing to her near connoisseur knowledge of cars
“Hahaha as long as it takes me to my destination” Angie quipped with a twitched nose.
The other corner had average type of cars with few recent plates on them.
Angie and Nicole walked side by side as I followed them to the reception. In there a slim lady in a long light green pleated dress with low heeled sandals to complete the look. On one hand she carried a notebook with the church’s logo on it and on her left hand a pink pen squeezed in between her fingers and smile to crown our entry. She ushered us in “Is this Jura’s family?” I answered to the affirmative as we put our derrière on the cleaned seats that dotted the reception.
“Be patient other pastors have already come so we are only waiting for Reverend Lucas Kabaye’s arrival so as to commence the meeting, where are my manners?”
“My name is Imelda Kanyinga the church secretary” she said apologetically while shaking our hands in gaiety.
“How many people will be present in the meeting?” Nicole asked
“All members of the local church council will be present” Imelda answered
“How many was the question?” Nicole insisted
15 minutes thereafter the secretary picked a call from an extremely grey shiny handset”
“Yes Mchungaji (Reverend) they have arrived”.
“Kindly come with me” she said as we all stood up and followed her.
A dark brown oak door swung in exposing us to the optical nutrition of the men of the cloth who had already taken the sitting positions in the large oval conference table. On the other end of the table sat Reverend Kabaye who warmly welcomed us to the local church council meeting to discuss our children’s baptism.The reverend sat on a black high back arm-chair craning his neck towards me.
“Mr Jura having gone through our records we found that you have been religiously paying your tithes and your monthly contribution – an amount I pay out of my personal obligation to the church which is very different from tithe, together with your family under registration number 30662” the senior pastor groaned amidst intermittent coughs that made his reading of the statement seem like an hour’s monologue.
“Kindly tell us who Angie is and who Nicole is to you?” Kabaye started interrogating me.
“They are both my wives and that their children are my children too” I answered in anticipation of the next question.
“You know quite well that polygamy is against the teachings of Christianity?” Do you know that we do not recognize her” while pointing at Angie’s.
“Excuse me could I say something” Nicole pleaded with the owlish looking-eyes of the robed men.
“This is so unfair why are we being subjected to interrogation as though we are not a family yet the person who you are pointing at is my sister and that we all agreed to marry one man?”
“How many wives did Solomon have in the Bible again? I plead that grant our children baptism according to the doctrines of the church and not be subjected to unfair treatment because of their family set-up additionally; God is for us all not a selected few”
A middle aged man who spoke with a dignified high pitched tone retorted saying that they got the point and that we should exit the room for them to deliberate.
We left the room and on coming back in, Reverend Kabaye who had already closed his notepad said as though conferring some power to us, “It has been unanimously agreed that your children will be baptized in church but before then Angie and you, Mr. Jura, have to wed in a civil union”.
“Is that a pre-requisite for them to be baptized?” I innocently asked
Kabaye nodded in the affirmative, rose from his chair and showed us the door saying that they needed to discuss other matters that did not require our presence.
We left feeling happy that our children will be baptized in church as we wished although a civil marriage stood between the special water ritual and my children.
“It is good we resolved all pending issues with the church and therefore let’s go celebrate with our little ones” Angie shouted as she pulled back our jalopy’s door.