Anglican Church of Kenya; The ‘Secretive’ visit of Dr William Rowans the Archbishop of Canterbury

I am a proud Anglican Church of Kenya member. Hey! You cannot bully me nor challenge me on that one.’ If you want we can bet, but not with my surly pessimism and paradoxes, what ever it means.’ Wait a minute! Who of you knows the head of the Anglican Church of Kenya? Ooops!  I meant the head of the Anglican Communion world wide. Do you have an idea?

Of course, you will tell me that Archbishop Dr Eliud Wabukala is the head of the Anglican Church of Kenya. Yes, yes you are right and, I will score you 100 percent. He is also my diocesan Bishop at All Saints Diocese in Nairobi. Anglican Church of Kenya boosts of several dioceses in its Province. The Archbishop is the notable head of the Communion.

Anglican Church of Kenya and the undercover ‘secret’ visit;

Anglican Church of Kenya

The Archbishop of Anglican Church of Kenya and Dr. Rowan Williams

Dr Rowan Williams is the purported world wide leader of the Anglican Communion though, in a ceremonial capacity. Dr Rowan arrived in Nairobi on Saturday 18th June 2011 at the start of a week long visit.

The head of the Anglican Church of Kenya Dr Wabukala while welcoming his brother Dr Rowan said ,  ‘’Your Grace , I reiterate our welcome and openness in sharing the apostolic faith within the Anglican Communion. This I reckon is the greatest opportunity that we share within the body of Christ; witnessing the Good News of Salvation’’

How many of us who share the Anglican Communion in Kenya at least new of the Archbishop’s visit? Or if we knew, did we take it with the seriousness it deserves? Have you ever noticed when for example a senior Popes representative visit the Catholic Church in Kenya, what do you think will happen?

Anglican Church of Kenya probably had a prominent visitor but it did not make sense why we did not feel the vibrancy or the excitement about this. Ok fine! It might not have been that important to all the membership of the Anglican Church of Kenya but it meant something for some of us.

I attended the evening service held at the National Cathedral in Nairobi in which Dr Rowan attended, and interestingly majority of the congregants were guest clergy within the Anglican Church of Kenya congregations. The local parishioners were not fully enlightened about the visit.

‘Or maybe we were not enthusiastic enough. But why was this? This must have been because of the poor handlers of the visit or a possibility of an intentional error of omission that will make the Primates visit a secret’.

I was discussing with some very active Anglican Church of Kenya youth members and to my dismay they had no idea who Dr Rowan is and his connection with the Anglican Church of Kenya. ‘I wouldn’t even with the slightest of my rebukes blame them’.

Anglican Church of Kenya hosting the Archbishop of Canterbury;

We might boost of the responsibility well executed by the Anglican Church of Kenya hosting the Archbishop of Canterbury enabling him to view some of the beautiful scenery of lake Nakuru and the local wildlife, but then what can we bequeath to the local Anglican Church of Kenya member that is educative or and informative about the visit?

The Anglican Church of Kenya also provided an opportunity for Dr Rowan to plant a tree in a tree planting ceremony at a Christian prayer centre, Jehovah Sharma, which was constructed recently to provide a space for those seeking conference facilities or quiet environment for a retreat.

Dr Williams together with Archbishop Dr Wabukala led the Anglican Church of Kenya in laying the first ever foundation stone for the proposed site of the 1st Anglican University of Kenya in Embu.  They also participated in a Eucharistic celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Nakuru. The proposed Anglican University is pausing a fundamental challenge even though with its noble intention.

Anglican Church of Kenya; why the ‘Secretive visit’?

While in most visitations of such a magnitude public pronouncement is crucial, one will fail to understand why this one was not publicized with the zeal or a passion that befits it. ‘Maybe Dr Rowan and his entourage wanted a simple visit. Alternatively, he is a humble servant who followed suit the Jesus way of riding on a donkey.’

Whatever the case, Jesus’ coming was publicized to befit his stature. No matter what difference might have been on the international limelight regarding the critical subject that almost tore into two the Anglican Communion this would have been the sweetest moment to showcase to the world that the Anglican Church of Kenya embraces unity.

Anglican Church of Kenya and the stand on Homosexuality

Anglican Church of Kenya has been on the forefront in making known its stand on the issue of Homosexuality, but that notwithstanding this should not have been a hindrance in their new found working relationship. ‘We the congregations have a wealth of diversified views on issues and are greatly enlightened,’ says Lewis one of the congregants of the Anglican Church in Kenya.

Homosexuality has shaken the Anglican Church of Kenya and many other congregations country wide and beyond but the truth is that a good percentage of there members are possibly gay, lesbian or bisexual. The Anglican Church of Kenya would not grapple with the thought of a possible research, with the exception of a few scholars who their findings are not out rightly published in the public domain.

In recent times Homosexuality has gained more momentum in discussions and debates within and without the public domain. This could possibly be the most threatening ‘scourge’ that the Anglican Church in Kenya is facing. The possibility of some of its members, breaking away is so real a dilemma in the making.

I have interacted with some Anglican pro-gay activists who are optimistic that with or without the Anglican Church of Kenya they are sure that God loves them for who they are and that they will not be intimidated whatsoever.’

‘’I have witnessed my fellow clergy using clobber verses to condemn homosexuality ,yet with the same breath I have taken time to read and contextualize the said texts,  yet my findings are completely different. I think theology has suffered a blow by none progressive clergy. I believe that theology changes but the word of God remains the same. No matter the knowledge we have I have not seen the church engage actively in the study of Sexuality.’’ A clergy who did not want to be named remarked.

Some of the verses he noted that are used to attack homosexuals are Genesis 19, Jude 7, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:21-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Timothy 1:10.

He says we should also critically look at some possible affirming scriptures which include; Ruth 1:16-17and 4: 17, 1Samuel 18:1-4 and 20:30 and 20: 41-42, 2Samuel 1:23, 26-27, Matt 8: 5-13, Luke 7: 1-10.

In the eyes of some Anglican Church of Kenya members it is important if the church leadership became more visible in positively and diplomatically addressing issues to avoid backlash.

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