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Afro-Latin Religions

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Part One: Service Observation

Mission and Principles

For the first field work assignment I visited the KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spirituality where there mission is to provide a loving and supportive atmosphere for personal and spiritual growth for all people to learn how to apply the KRST Principles to master our lives. KRST Center is based off of the Kemetic Principle of Christ which deals with the transformative power of all that is within each and every person and thing. They also based there spiritual practices off of MAAT seven principles: Truth, Justice, Righteousness, Harmony, Order, Balance, and Reciprocity. They deal much with self sustainability and the notion self empowerment to change for the better at a both individual and community.

Physical location and atmosphere

The KRST center is located in South Central on Western and 77th, placing it in the heart of the Black community of what is South Central Los Angeles (renamed South LA). The center in itself is very spacious with chairs so comfortable that you can fall asleep, especially if you did not get good enough rest the prior night, but the colors and textures that are used are Afrakan motifs and designs. On the walls there are poster images of Black leaders such as Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman. Images and posters of Egyptian history, art, and central figures are posted along the entrances. The images really help to remind the congregation about their roots and their Afrakan culture. The atmosphere was very welcoming and members of the congregation were very friendly. They invited me to return and to know that I have a home and a family there. There was a very homey vibe to the center. There was also a feel of paradise since in the middle of the center there was a pole that got decorated as a palm tree, there was


Service in KRST is based more on spirituality and self healing than a sermon from a bible. They call service Spiritual Empowerment and Praise which starts at 10:30 am and ends at 1pm. At 10 am they hold song and praise, where members of the congregation, choir, and band sing and praise...they unofficially call it the jam session The schedule goes as follows:


-Libation and Statement of Being

-Daily word message affirmation (in three different languages)

-Announcements and welcoming of guests

-Musical Selection-- Congregational singing

-Commitment and Purpose

-Meditation: Preparation in Song and Experience

-Empowerment Message

-Welcoming Our Family into the Village

-Celebrating the Joy of Giving and Receiving

The welcoming is very simple. The members of the congregation welcome each other with hugs and saying "welcome brother/ sister to your home." At the same time the live band plays a song of worship. Next, libation and the statement of being is read. On this particular day it was "Spirit is all! Both Invisible and Visible. One presence one mind, One power is All. This That is All, Is perfect Love and Perfect Substance. I am an individualized expression of The ALL. I am ever One with Its Perfect life, Perfect Love and Perfect Substance. So as Libation is going this statement is being said and conducted by the reverend of the KRST. Then we moved into Daily Word and Affirmation, where it is a phrase that is recited as a congregation. Three members are chosen to read them since it is the same message in three different languages: English, Spanish, and Igbo. The message was "I am open and receptive to the goodness of God and the prospered in all I do." Once all three versions are read the congregation responds with "Otua Ka Odi."

In the middle of service they give announcements and welcome guest by having them stand up, state their name, why they are there, and welcome them to a new home. Since service does run from 10:30 am until 1:00 pm, they have a Musical Selection - Congregational signing. The song chosen at this service was "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." They choose to sing music that is inspirational such as this one, that placed into context is very powerful. At this point everyone is rejoicing and in a powerful mood that they take the time to greet each other, where the members walk around hugging each other and giving thanks for a new day and the ability to be here to share with the community.

One of the most powerful parts was Meditation. During this part of the servicea member of the congregation starts to sing and than starts to give a message. Here the congregation focuses and everyone starts to meditate. There is this vibration that is felt throughout the entire time...I felt myself light and at peace for that moment in time and reenergized. The purpose is reaffirm ourselves and the goodness in life. What the sermon is typically of is called Empowerment Message. The difference that I noticed was that they try to focus on how we can change and how it is up to us to bring good energies into our community and that since it is our community we must be positivist ourselves. In this given day the main topic was Karma. Karma is a neutral source. It is up to the individual act that one does that changes. It is in mainstream culture that they give Karma a negative definition. In the empowerment message mainstream religions were touched upon and why it is that KRST is different. I perceived this service to talk about social change and the importance of having our community be self sustainable. They seek the congregation to really get involved in all the other parts of the center such as the school, the organizing that fellow members do, they even host events where the community gets together to try and figure out what issues are really affecting the community. After they identify challenges, collectively they try to figure solutions that are realistic and tangible to carry out. It is in this way that they really bring the community together to rely on themselves for the solutions to their own community.

The conclusion of the service ends in a big circle. Chairs are moved around to be able to achieve the circle to its best. People hold hands and sing the ending song "I love myself so much" and this song sets forth the fact that in order to be part of a community that is doing its best, one must do its best. To love oneself so much means that you can love your fellow sister/brother so much leading to a loving community.



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