May 19, 2020

The longest continually running Sunday school class at St. Paul’s is the Kola Class, founded on October 19, 1933. Who could have imagined that a Sunday school class that is 87 years old, mostly composed of more mature women, would be thriving in the age of COVID 19? But thriving it is, and more people attend each week in our virtual gathering than when we met in person. Only God could have seen that one coming! 

This past Sunday, we had terrible trouble making Zoom connections and getting everyone on-line. I could hear the others, but couldn’t see them, they could see and hear each other could only hear me. One lady, who calls in by phone had her call dropped multiple times, and it took another about 45 minutes to successfully log on. In the midst of the technological challenges, one of the members said, “It must be all the other Sunday school classes and worship services using Zoom this morning.”  Wouldn’t that be amazing?  True to my personality, I figured I must have messed up somehow. Apparently, I was not alone, because some of the others thought they’d messed up as well.  

After I ended the meeting my husband shared a screen shot of Zoom outages all over north America, especially along the East Coast. Apparently, there were outages all over Western Europe as well which interfered with virtual worship services on both sides of the Atlantic.  Below is the screen shot:

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I’ve wondered about the class name, Kola. As so often happens, the origin of the name has been lost to memory, other than a vague recollection that it is a word from an African language. I’ve done a bit of research, and found that there is a kola nut that is native to West Africa. In many West African cultures, it is chewed and believed to restore vitality and ease hunger pangs.  It is also an important part of traditional spiritual practice of many cultures in the region.  It is used in hospitality rituals, for divination, and considered sacred.  I discovered one saying about the kola nut, “The one who brings Kola brings life.”

That’s a pretty good name for a Sunday school class, a place of hospitality, for discernment, a sacred space that brings life. It’s done that for 87 years, and continues to do so in a new and challenging time. And that is another reason for hope!  

A picture containing indoor, table, sitting, fruit

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May we each bring life to those we encounter today! ~ Anne

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