It was Sunday morning, 7th of Febrary. Someone bowled around the corner, from the bottom of the Mile End Road to the Church of the Cherubim and Seraphim. Mount Zion. Yes. Jesus Saves. Amen. Ha!-llelujah! Ha!-llelujah!
This was around quarter past 11. The Church is situated in a warehouse in Captain Cook’s Yard. The site of a house which formerly stood here in Whitechapel where the aforementioned Captain was born. Ok, so
I had meph still in my system
and the February wind was still cold as
I knocked on an innocuous looking door which was opened unto me. This open door gave way to an almighty racket, many voices joined in unison and resplendent worship. Resounding drums filled the air which was thick with incense smoke, so much so that I thought the whole building alight. A tall black man in long white silk robes asked me to remove my shoes, and I took at seat at the rear of the hall. All in all there were maybe 70 people in this smoky space, the whole congregation dressed in beautiful white silk.
We got through many a hymn. At one interval, everyone but me and some of the younger folks started muttering, talking in tongues. Two priests spoke, one in English, t’other in Yoruba. The congregation, always moving, began really dancing, and stamping, and singing so loud. One of the ministers walking up and down the isles, swinging a basket of burning incense. Everyone smiling, everything amplified, the choir of teenage girls shouting out hymns for everyone to join in. Man on congas, one on drums, other on bass. The keyboard player ready to up the volume if the danger of congregational atonality became too great.
These are lovely people, and incidentally, I am not the photographer. They were so friendly and welcoming, nothing but smiles and thanks. I would encourage anyone passing or interested, just to join in – respectful – and allow your mood to ebb, dip and soar with the sermon and the beautiful community. I left when the trance became a little intense. Another paean 2 Whitechapel. You never fail to amaze me.