Susan Hogan/Albach of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a wonderful article Sunday on how a conservative congregation, Resurrection Episcopal Church of West Chicago, separated itself from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago without rancor or threats of lawsuits.
The article included this odd note, however: “The new worship space was a quarter mile walk from the church. As the worshippers processed, a guitarist strummed, while others yelled Nigerian warrior cries.”
What’s this? Nigerian war cries during what the Rev. George Koch, rector of Resurrection, referred to as a service of gentle separation?
“What she heard was ululation — praise — common in African (and Resurrection) worship,” Koch said by email. “We learned it from our Ugandan friends and travels.” (The photo shows Koch, third from left on the front row, at the consecration of the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey in Uganda.)
Wikipedia’s entry on ululation provides a few other amusing possibilities:
Ululation is found in some singing techniques and ritual situations. In Arab countries ululation is commonly used by women to express celebration or grief, especially at weddings and funerals. It may also be used to encourage belly dancing. … Ululation appears in many films set in the Middle East, such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Battle of Algiers. Sometimes it is depicted as a battle cry, for example in Xena: Warrior Princess. Even the animated feature GI Joe: The Movie featured the ululation “Cobra-la-la-la-la-la”. It appears as comic relief in The Simpsons episodes “The Last Temptation of Homer” and “Midnight Rx”; as well as Family Guy in the episode “E. Peterbus Unum” where Stewie is curious about the sound Achmed “makes when you’re about to assassinate an infidel.”
They sure know how to party out in West Chicago.
Photo: By Kevin Kallsen of AnglicanTV (from this slideshow).