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Soccer Goes to Church (KAD)

Kofi Adu Domfeh/ Luv 99.5Fm Ghana/TwentyTen

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Associated features: God Bless Bafana (Photo feature) and Football and Worship (Text feature)


It is not surprising to observe empty church pews in most African countries whenever a football match involving national teams or local favourites coincides with a church service. In fact, some religious groups have had to study the football calendar in their localities before scheduling major church events like crusades or community evangelism.

Now, instead of being worried about the impact of football on church attendance, some local churches in South Africa are taking advantage of the World Cup to drive home the message of peace.

Interestingly, children from different races and nationalities are involved in epitomizing the staging of the World Cup, whilst championing the cause of peace. TwentyTen reporter, Kofi Adu Domfeh, attended a Church service in Johannesburg and filed this report.


Sfx… hymns (play and fade down 6sec)

Link 1: This is the adult class of the Saint Mark’s Presbyterian Church at Troyeville, a cosmopolitan assembly in Joburg. This Sunday, the service probationer has an announcement to make about the outcome of a fun game held with a sister congregation.

Cue In: "The children of St. Mark’s… Out: …clap sound"

Link 2: This pronouncement apparently sounded most exciting to the congregation and after the service, pockets of them discussed the skills of their kids on the field of play. I bumped into the seven to eleven-year-old boys who were talking about their game with St. Charles Presby, and I sought to find out their interest in soccer, chatting about their favourite teams and players.

Cue In: “My name is Gift Raftel… Out: … so it’s Spain he wants to win”

Link 3: Norman is the Sunday School teacher who took the children to their soccer victory. For him, the diversity in nationality of the congregation is as beautiful as the World Cup tournament.

Cue In: “We’ve got Zimbabweans… Out: … the whole of the world represented”

Link 4: The church’s focus is to engage the children in sports as a medium to promote the message of peace. As Norman puts it, through one event like the 2010 World Cup, peace and hope could be restored in Africa for the betterment of the world at large.

Cue In: “Christianity is about… Out: … entertainment at the end of the day”

Link 5: But is the over-concentration on soccer not taking away the opportunity for the church to spread the gospel of peace? Norman does not think so.

Cue In: “I think we’re using the soccer… Out: … ministering to people”.

Soccer and religion have a lot in common, and the determination to groom peace-loving children who are excited at the game of football would surely go a long way to make the world a better place.

Sign out… Kofi Adu Domfeh

Sfx… hymn fades out

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