I greet you all in the Name of Jesus Christ thank God for this day and for the privilege to be a servant of God in His church. (I’m grateful to those who elected me the 2nd Bishop of the Diocese of Nairobi, giving me an opportunity to serve God in this capacity. I accept this responsibility with all humility knowing that God has given me an opportunity to be a 'servant' of the 'servants of God: a friend and a brother to His people.
I want to thank the Diocesan Chancellor, Mr Muturi Kigano for conducting the Bishop’s Elections in a very professional, fair, transparent, and exemplary manner and strictly in accordance with the Church's Constitution and Canons. The Archbishop has requested you to share this wisdom and your experience with the other Dioceses, especially those who will be having elections soon. Sir, we thank you for this noble job and for the selfless service that you have ably rendered since the inception of this Diocese. God, bless you and your family abundantly. The Diocesan Constitution is dynamic just like the National Constitution. We shall aspire to make the necessary changes and amendments in our Diocesan Constitution to conform and be in-tandem with the changing times. We are confident that with Mr Kigano's experience we shall produce an edition that will serve the new needs of the Diocese.
I wish to take this early opportunity to congratulate my brothers Ven. Canon Peter Maina, Ven. Fredrick Kibaki, Rev. Humphrey Muragrui and Rev. Shem Watako for erstwhile and worthy contestants in the Bishopric election and affording the Church a wide spectrum to exercise its democratic will through prayer in the way bequeathed to the Apostles in the first election of Matthias documented in Act chapter 1 verses 12-26. in magnanimity, I extend my hand of compliments goodwill and accommodation to them. ln one of the Bible Studies during the All Africa Bishop's Conference in Uganda held on 23rd to 29th August, we were reminded the idea of the 'Cathedra' coming from Jesus sitting at the synagogue to teach people (Luke4:16-22). The 'Cathedra’ is for teaching not for exercising authority and power. it is my prayer that God will give me the grace to be a Teacher. I am grateful to the members of ACK St. James Buruburu together with the staff for teaching me how to minister and for the opportunity to exercise my gifts and for loving and accepting my family over the last ten (1O) years.
We are very grateful to you all for your prayers and support the entire time. There are many people who have worked behind the scenes to make this day a success. The Standing Committee of the Synod led by the Vicar General, The Very Rev. Canon John Ndungu and all other committees who have worked tirelessly for the success of this day There. are others who pray day and night for my family and I and for the church of Jesus Christ without ceasing. For everybody who has travelled from far and wide to grace this occasion. The team from Sheffield in the UK and from the USA, welcome and thank you. May the Lord bless you.
I want to thank my wife, Tabby and our two daughters, Loise and Leah for being there for me. it is said that women inspire men to greatness then prevent them from achieving it, but in your case, you have always encouraged me, stood by my side and gave me a lot of inspiration. Thank you. My family and I wish to thank God for our late parents, Bernard and Ruth together with the late Hezekiah and our surviving mum, Hildah, for bringing us up in the fear and nurture of God. We acknowledge with thanks and nostalgic memories the early role played by my cradle church of St·
Peter's Muguru, Kangema in nurturing me to come of age in Christianity. We profoundly thank our home church. We also thank God for many other spiritual parents, some who have been promoted to glory like the Late Grace Waweru (Mama Mercy), Mrs Appophia Gakaya, Rev. & Mrs Apolo & Abijah Kamau among others, for encouraging us to take up this responsibility.
I also take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, the Rt. Rev Peter Njoka and his family for their vision, sacrifice and hard work in the Diocese. He started this Diocese by inheriting a debt of over Kes. 6 Million amidst other challenges. At that time, many were sceptical about the viability and sustainability of the Diocese. This has however been proved wrong by your hard work, faith, and trust in God. You have left a strong and stable Diocese. The introduction of the tithing system by the Parishes to maintain and support the Diocesan office instead of the quota system will always be cherished among other developments.
Your Grace, when I began this journey of faith for the ministry of Bishop in the church, I shared my vision prayerfully with the Vicar of my Parish where I live at Kasarani, Rev. Charles Chege. After chatting with him with regards to the issues I had, he told me "Brother, you have begun this journey by prayer; your journey can only be sustained through prayer': After the elections, he again stated to me "Your ministry as a Bishop and this Diocese can only be sustained through prayer" Amen. We will, therefore, cherish your prayers, love and support.
As I take over the mantle, I know that I will be faced with many challenges. There are projects that need completion. However, I believe that these challenges are opportunities in the ministry and I believe that with the support of the Clergy and the laity; we shall carry out the pending projects and initiate others. These include giving our Cathedral a facelift, the hall, and the grounds. The words of Jesus in John 15: 16 challenge and humble me as I begin this ministry. I know and I believe that God has called, chosen, and appointed me so that I can bear much fruit and that the fruit should abide. I do not go alone for fruit
and that the fruit should abide. I do not go alone for He promises to go with me as He promised His disciples in Matthew 28:20 ln partnership with the body of Christ, my prayer is to engage in creative ministry, providing every opportunity for every person to encounter and experience the joy of Jesus Christ and to achieve sustainable growth of the church. In his book' Responsible Church Leadership’ published in 2005, Rtd Archbishop, the Most Rev. Dr. David Gitari states that in the world, the great man is the one who controls others; one who is a master and whose word of command must be obeyed with trepidation. But in the Christian assessment service alone is the badge of greatness. Greatness consists in doing things for others; and that the greater the service, the greater the honour. In John 13: 14, Jesus said "Now that I, your Lord, and teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. And yet again in Luke 22:27 He said "for who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves': Brothers and sisters let us be servants and not masters. Through prayer and inspiration the Lord has impressed on me six pillars for church development in this Diocese:
- Pastoral Care Programmes - For Clergy and Laity
The words "Bishop, Pastor and Elder" are used interchangeably in the New Testament. The instructions that Paul gives in 1 Timothy 3 concerning Bishops applies to everyone who wants to be used of the Lord. Paul is not focusing on the position, but the ministry;' good work' The ACK Constitution talks about a Bishop being a brother and a friend to the Clergy and a servant. Team work and team spirit between the Bishop, the Clergy and the laity, is vital because it enhances the gifts that God has given each one of us hence enriching the ministry we are all in. Paul stated that a Bishop must be blameless. If he meant that a Bishop must be flawless, then it would be very difficult for each one of us. However, I believe that the idea of blameless implies contrite heart that says “Lord, I know that I am not perfect, but there is nothing in my life I am clinging to or holding on to, which I know is contrary to You. I need Your guidance by the power of Your Holy Spirit':
- Mission and Evangelism
Upholding the Biblical tenets and the Lordship of Jesus We are living in a world that is changing. Modernization has taken root in every fibre of the society. The church should be relevant to the needs of the society without losing focus on the leadership of Jesus Christ. We live at a time when the elderly are seeking continuity of life with nostalgia. The youth are yearning for a change of status quo with a heart of new inventions. Their gifts should be tapped and harmonized for the glory of God. A community without young blood is faced
with extinction. The church needs to review its worship and ministries to be meaningful and relevant to the needs of the old, the youth and the children today and tomorrow. Many of poor young people are moving to other churches that seem to understand and accommodate them. Modern equipment that enhances praise and worship during services is part of
their concern. Opportunities to exercise their gifts both in ministry and leadership should be encouraged in the church today. lt is important for us to explore ways and means of involving them for they will continue the legacy that we have also inherited. Asserting Christian values in the lives of all, based on the living Word of God which is sharper than a double-edged sword will be an important agenda. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" - Hebrews 13:8. He does not change. The gospel; does not change but the packaging needs to be relevant to the society today.
The Bible in Rom 14:12 states that every one of us will give an account of himself I herself to God. We shall state before God what we did with the possession that the Lord gave us. This includes material and the opportunities He opened for us spiritually. Therefore, accountability and transparency of our resources is important to us. Participatory governance and enhancement by the relevant Boards will be adhered to. Inclusiveness in ministry will be observed. Diversity and sensitivity to include ethnicity, gender and age. Nairobi is cosmopolitan city embracing air ethnic groups and cultures and as far as practically possible reflecting the diverse faces of Kenya thereby harnessing these virtues in a positive manner for the glory of God. As stated by Prof J. Mugambi to the Bishops delegation in Uganda, in his key note address, "if all .. people thought and acted in the same way they would be like robots. Culture and ethnic diversity is an asset rather than a liability in social engineering:’
Integrity and professionalism will be high on the agenda. ln the past, people of the cloth have been accused of all manner of debauchery that have been making weird stories to read in the 'Crazy Monday Magazine These include adultery, drunkenness, homosexuality, child abuse and theft among others. One the publication also attempted to derail and desecrate my election through malice propaganda and untruths. They did not succeed as wise counsel prevailed against evil. Let us all remember that we shall give an account before God. The righteous man walks in his integrity Prov 20:7. Our authority is not in the vestments we wear or in the positions that we hold, but in the Word of God. Someone said the best place to lose faith and backslide in the church. Let us walk uprightly.
- Sustainability and Investments
Nairobi Diocese is strategically positioned. We have what it takes for investment and sustainability of the Diocese. As the Bishop considers what pastoral dynamics he brings to the Diocese, it is also important for the Clergy to consider what they bring to the Parishes. This is in terms of gifting and calling. We are blessed with various professionals within the house of Laity. A database for those professionals will be created for networks within the secretariat so that all these gifts can be used for the glory of God and advancement of His kingdom. All the abilities that we have are God's gift to the church and the society. As leaders, we are called by God to be enablers of His people, to facilitate the manifestation of these gifts. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor 12:4-11). Let us help unlock the potential that is in our people.
The Diocese will enhance income generating activities and also seek to initiate others. The linkage that exists with Church Commissioners for Kenya will be strengthened for investment and growth of the existing portfolio. Other local and foreign parties who are of like mind will be welcome to assist us in the advancement of God's kingdom.
- Church Impact on Contemporary Needs of the Society-Advocacy and Prophetic Ministry
The Church has a fundamental prophetic ministry. Jesus likened His disciples to the salt of the earth Matt 5:13 - ''You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again? lt is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men". As His disciples, today, we are a very good person. Salt seasons and brings out the flavour. lt is also a preservative used to prevent decay and a disinfectant.
If our culture is putrefying and decaying, as a church we should hold back from indicting our society or criticizing our political leaders and begin preserving by repenting. I am a product of the East Africa Revival movement (Tukutendereza) whose teaching is that the way of the Cross is through repentance and walking in the light-"Wandugu tutubu na tumwone Yesu, kisha tutembee nuruni, tutazame msalaba"
This is the only way we can add piquancy to human society, serve as a preservative and make others long for true righteousness. Pollsters tell us that politicians are more trusted today than the church leaders following the results of the referendum. However, the church will continue to hold the government accountable to deliver the promises it has made. The church will continue to seek social justice and good governance to its citizens. Now that the referendum is over, is it not possible for our political leaders to put the same efforts and resources to fight corruption which is a malignant cancer that has continued to be virulent in our Country? We urge the President and the Prime Minister (who worked together and saw the Constitution pass) to put a concerted effort to fight this vice.
The Church will always endeavour to respond to the contemporary social issues that affect the community through advocacy and practical action. The issues of garbage collection, water and sanitation, drugs, and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS scourge, rising cases of crimes, counselling issues in the family lives, society, schools, and ethnicity concerns will be addressed through the relevant bodies in our city.
- Staff Welfare and Capacity Development
At the creation of the diocese of Nairobi in the year 2002, there were only six clergy with Masters Degrees and five with bachelor's degrees. The rest were Diploma and Certificate holders. As at today, there are over 40 Clergy with Bachelors and Masters Level and quite a number are pursuing PhD's. We shall continue to encourage Clergy to study to show themselves approved unto God as workmen and women who rightly divide the word of truth, 2 Timothy 2: 75. The laity too have a very important role to play in ministry training. The Diocese will continue to promote organs that give ministry training to the laity. Such organs include The Carlile College whose core existence was for lay training, TEE in the Diocese, life ministry training and other organizations will be encouraged. The tremendous intellect and professional skills that the lay have will be most valuable to the diocese.
Looking at John 15:16 again I feel encouraged and have confidence that God will lead us in this ministry. Lest the disciples got a tendency to become discouraged or to give up, or become desperate, Jesus reminded them that He is the one who chose them and not the reverse. This means that He chose them with a specific. mission and vision to discipleship, fruitfulness, and eventual eternal salvation. They were also sent out for experiences as interns to appreciate the work that lay ahead of them. This is the same assurance that we have today in this text with prayer effected (v.7), joy celestial (v.11) and fruit perpetual (v.16). The secret of effective service is prayer. May we be committed to praying for one another
"'Now to Him Who Is able to so exceedingly abundantly above
all that we ask or think, according to the power that works
in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20 - 2 7)