|A House of Worship for Many Nations in East Timor
by Rev. Max Surjidanata
It started on Good Friday when a small group of English-speaking internationals currently serving in East Timor gathered for worship services at the Hosana Protestant Church in Dili, East Timor.
Following a trilingual Easter service in English, Indonesian, and Tetun, English language Sunday worship services are now held each Sunday morning, drawing worshipers from UNTAET (United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor) and other NGO organizations.
At the initiative of some English-speaking clergy and lay persons serving in Timor Lorosae, a small congregation now gathers for worship each Sunday morning at 10.00 am at the Hosana Protestant Church in Dili, Timor Lorosae.
Initially, these worship services are being facilitated by the Rev. Max B. Surjadinata, a United Church of Christ (USA) pastor currently serving as consultant with the Synod of the Protestant Church in Timor Lorosae; the Rev. Andrew Knight, an Anglican priest and the Rev. Frank Worthley, both chaplains of the Australian contingent of the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Timor Lorosae; and Inge Lempp, serving as consultant with the Social Naroman Foundation, the community development agency of the Protestant Church.
Believing that 'liturgy' is the public work of the whole people of God, a planning committee meet each Monday afternoon to plan for the next Sunday worship service.
Among the worshipers are uniformed members of the United Nations peace-keeping forces, Australians, Fijians, Koreans, Ghanaians, who come complete with their weapons which they store under the church benches during the service.
One of the special treats during these services are musical renditions by an capella choir of Fijian soldiers. The congregation is presented with inspiring music reminiscent of the tropical islands.