The pastor of the online Proverbial Experience mixes African spiritual practices with Christianity for worship ‘that is fully integrated with who I am.’
It’s 11:11 on a recent Sunday morning and The Proverbial Experience is just getting underway. “Greetings my loves!” proclaims the Rev. Lyvonne Proverbs Briggs, the founder of this weekly spiritual gathering on Instagram. “Anybody got a hallelujah in your spirit?”
As the congregation comes online, Briggs, from her home in New Orleans, greets each person by name as prerecorded gospel music plays. She frames herself in front of a makeshift altar with an assortment of crystals and a sign that reads, “God is love.”
The worship service, with music and Bible readings, initially feels similar to the Black Episcopal church of Briggs’ youth, but within a few minutes it takes a turn.
Briggs burns Palo Santo — literally, “holy wood” — and sage. She pours libations, a West African ritual used to honor ancestors — not only her congregation’s, but freedom fighters, cultural and spiritual figures, victims of police violence. As each name is called, water is poured and sealed with an exclamatory ashe, an amen from the Yoruba of Nigeria that means “and so it is.”
Read the full article titled, African spirituality offers Black believers ‘decolonized’ Christianity on Religion News Service.
Liz Kineke wrote this article for Religion News Service.