Liberian experiment Bassa churches preparing for Messianic Year festivals in 2014

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The Liberian development excites me. There is a very deep connection between the theory of the Messianic Year and the current priorities of the host denomination, an indigenous Liberian church I have known for a long time. I am told that the missionaries to the Bassa area of Liberia were very culturally imperialistic, and this denomination has been fighting long and hard to legitimize Bassa culture and employ it more in Christian worship. The Messianic Year framework allows them to show just how good Bassa music, dance, storytelling, etc. actually is, and how powerfully it can communicate the story of the Messiah.

 

I'm planning to attend the workshop in the last week of February, though my role will be much more catalytic than managerial. I'm also looking for an ethnomusicologist and/or liturgist who could get himself/herself to Liberia to encourage the local Bassa composers and choreographers who will be assembled. Send me an e-mail if you want to discuss that.

 

The Liberians are planning to launch the Messianic Year festivals in 2014. The workshop is early in 2013 so they have the rest of the year to complete the plan, teach things to choirs, and make other preparations that go with Bassa festivals. I hope they will open the workshop to a few observers from other countries who can see what the Bassa do and consider doing something similar in their own countries, but that is a moot question if no one is interested.

 

Would any readers attend it if the Liberians opened it up, or might you encourage a friend to go, probably from a West African country? Perhaps the creative energies of different language groups could feed off each other. For example, I would love to see the different groups show each other what festival dances they could come up with.

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