Reflections from Morocco

Karen Thomas Smith (left) & Kristin Belcher (right) attend EEAM Synod in Rabat, Morocco

Karen Thomas Smith (left) & Kristin Belcher (right) attend EEAM Synod in Rabat, Morocco

by Kristin Belcher, Interim Office Manager KBF 

In his opening address to the EEAM Synod in Rabat, Morocco this past November; Pastor Samuel Amedro likened the church to a fig tree.  He said instead of viewing the history of the church as life, death and resurrection, we should view the church as a fig tree.  The church has needs just like the fig tree has needs.  The church has moved from birth into maturity.  Samuel asked, “What do we want to do with our maturity?  That is what this Synode is all about.”
The Eglise Evangelique Au Maroc (EEAM), or the Protestant Church of Morocco began in Casablanca in 1907.  They built their first church building between 1918 and 1920.  The church saw great growth between the years of 1920 and 1956.  In 1956, however, the church began to decline and in 1986, they sold the church buildings and had only one pastor.  Beginning in the1980’s African students began going to University in Morocco.  They joined the church and the church began to thrive.  What began as a mostly white Reform French Church has changed into an international, African, multi-denominational church.  This is the story of the church’s movement from birth to maturity that Samuel was speaking of.  Having the opportunity to travel to Morocco and represent the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship at the Synode was a wonderful and enlightening experience.
The Protestant church in Morocco is led primarily by University students.  These students are in Morocco but for a short while and yet are committed to leading, participating and serving in the church.  My time there was spent in long meetings where these students and other church leaders discussed the church’s history, vision, and budget.  They listened to committee reports and heard greetings from partner organizations.  They are committed to the work of the church.
We in Kentucky have much to learn from the EEAM.  They are going through the stages all churches must go through.  Samuel shared these stages in a very succinct way.  First the people of the church must love and trust one another.  Trust will lead to unity.  When the church is unified, they are able to work together and accomplish goals.  Each person needs to be appreciated for who they are and they need a place to serve.  We, as the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship should strive to do the same within our churches and within the Fellowship.
As our voices joined in singing (in French, of course; many thanks to Karen Thomas Smith for translating for me!) “This Little Light of Mine,” I couldn’t help but think that the churches represented at the Synode are indeed shining the light of Christ in their cities.  What a blessing to be connected even though we are thousands of miles away.  And what a blessing it is to continue to partner together, to learn from one another, and encourage each other as we shine our lights together.

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