Bishop space

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’:

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 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:’

Mission and Evangelism

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 flavor. 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)


Joel Waweru Mwangi was born on 4th October 1959 at Gakira Village in Kangema Division, Murang’ a. He is the 7th child and last born son of the late Bernard Mwangi and the late Ruth Wambui. He grew up as a friendly and
helpful child, assisting his parents in herding cattle at his father’s farm.

Joel together with his siblings was brought up in a Christian environment from a tender age, their parents being Christians and active members of the East African Revival fellowship (Tukutendereza). During his early life, young Joel referred to himself as a child of God (kana kaNgai).

Education in Mwangi’s family was a matter of priority and that is what saw him attend the nearby Muguru Primary School in 1966 1974. He was a hard-working boy who exuded calmness and joy. He sat for his certificate of Primary Examination and qualified to proceed to Kangema High School from 1975 1978 where he did his ’O’ levels examinations. It was during this period that Joel accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal Saviour on 3rd July He felt an intensely growing need to share with others around him the positive change he was experiencing by having a relationship with Christ.

One year later, Joel heeding to God’s call to mainstream ministry, joined the Church Army College (currently Carlile College) between 1980 and 1981 and obtained a Certificate which qualified him to be a Church Army Evangelist based at the St. James &All Martyrs Cathedral, Murang’ a. He expounded his training
in Theological Education by Extension (TEE~ over a four year period. His passion for people and dedication to God, two outstanding character traits in his life are what propelled to be promoted to the position of à Training College Officer at Church Army Africa before completing his TEE course. he later added a certificate in Religious Studies from Nairobi University to his steadfastly growing portfolio.

The year 1986 certainly had a great effect on the effectiveness of his ministry. it was the year he married the apple of his eye, Tabitha Muthoni Waweru on 2nd August 1986, a union that resulted in there being blessed with two daughters namely Leah Wambui and Loise Wanjiku. bshp_familyHis family has been instrumental in his ministry through encouragement and even actively participating in direct ministry to him. He is quoted ". . . . You 
  may not believe it but my daughters lay their hands on me and pray for me •••.." He also joined East Africa School of Theology to undertake his first degree in Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology, this exposure enhanced both his commitment to ministry and spiritual growth. It is also the same year that he became the Administrative Officer at Church Amy Africa.

Joel possesses a mind for excellence that will not be satisfied by average accomplishments in life, his desire for in-depth knowledge and insight to enrich his relationship with God and ministry are the drive behind his actions and achievements From 1992 to 1996, he became the Assistant General Secretary at Church Army Africa. Due to his integrity and knowledge, he was the Acting General Secretary from 1992 for two years awaiting the appointed General Secretary, Rev. Canon Stanley F. Dakin who was in the UK by then. His time at Church Army Africa saw him travel widely to represent the African institution abroad both as a leader and the main speaker in some conferences. These include Church   Army Officers Conference in Toronto Canada, Church Army Officers meeting in Northam. Ireland, making presentations in various forums including Buckingham Palace (England) before Her Majesty the Queen and at Church Army World leaders conference in Bournemouth, England and at Church Army World leaders conference in Sydney, Australia. It was while serving the Lord at Church Army Africa that Joel was made a Deacon in 1993 and ordained as a Priest the next year at the All Saints Cathedral, the then Nairobi Diocese by the late Archbishop Manasses Kuria.

Over time, Joel attended various leadership courses and seminars in various institutions and forums such as Haggai Institute, Maui Hawaii, Daystar University Nairobi, and Marc Europe-London-UK. In 1995, while in Minnesota, USA, Joel served as a Part-time minister at St. Luke's Anglican Church Minnesota. He then moved with his family to the UK the following year to undertake his Master of Arts in Theology at the Hallam Pastoral Institute Sheffield (University of Leeds UK). He was also licensed to work as a priest in the Diocese of Sheffield, in the UK in the same year. While undertaking his Masters, he was posted to St. Mary's Bramall Lane, Sheffield (UK) as an assistant minister and in his final year 1999, he was stationed at St. Silas Parish - Broomhall, Sheffield (UK) as the presiding minister. Joel together with his family relocated back home (Kenya) in December 1999 where for three months he operated as the Diocesan Youth Organizer (DYO). He was later appointed as the Vicar at ACK St. Polycarp Mlango Kubwa from March to December 2000. On New Year’s Day of the year 2001 (01/01/01) in the morning Joel reported to a new posting ACK St. James Church Buru Buru as the Vicar, only to be welcomed with news of the demise of one of its notable members. He rolled up his sleeves and took it in stride to minister to the grieving family church, with God's comfort and love and has continued to do so for the past ten years. While serving at St. James, He was Collated and installed Canon and inducted as the Archdeacon with the Cathedral Archdeaconry. Aside from the diocesan promotions, in 2009, the Youth at St. James also gave him the honorary award, voted as the best "Pasii" in the world and appreciated for the immense contribution in their lives as pastor, mentor, friend and dad; a gesture that proves the relevance of his ministry as a spiritual father and mentor to many young people at the church. Joel has literarily grown together with St. James over the past ten years.

The Anglican Church is not the only place that he has served. Other institutions have recognized his potential and honoured him to serve in their boards and associations. He is the Board of Director's Chairman, Thangira Umoja Secondary School, Thika and while his daughter schooled at St. George's Secondary School, he was elected as the PTA board member for three consecutive years until she finished her 'O' levels. He also served as the Chairman House of Clergy and Provincial Synod representative in the Diocese of Nairobi.

The life and ministry of Joel aim to reflect what was said of the prophet Ezra;

teacher, well versed in the Law which the Lord God of Israel had given.••

for he had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws... (Ezra 7:6 1O)

When Joel was elected the ACK Nairobi Diocese' second Bishop, his response was "I accept to take up this responsibility with humility... ” A predictable response, for many who know him as one who does not to shy away from great responsibilities in humble reliance on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide him. This path, though few treads, has been taken by Joel and his family strengthened by the prayers and travails of many Christians. This path of life full of boulders and pits can only be conquered by the constant prayers and support of the saints. Joel will cherish every prayer uttered before the Lord on his behalf as he serves the Church and the Saints.

"A leader impresses on people when he succeeds, 
             But he impacts more when his followers succeed. "

 To the Glory of GOD.