History made; Anglican Church moves closer to gay clergy while Kenyans obsess over Sapit ban

With the recent consecration and enthronement of the first elected Anglican woman Bishop Rose Okeno in Butere, a milestone was made. Conservative Christians have noted that the event went contrary to 1 Timothy 3:2, which expressly omits women from Bishop roles. This, they argue, has now opened a Pandora’s box, and soon, the Kenyan Anglican Church will follow in the footsteps of their Western counterparts who ordain gay Bishops. Surprisingly, however, even as all this was going on, all the attention of Kenyans who are for the most part, fixated on politics, was somewhere else.

To be fair to the public, the media played a big role in ignoring the main event which was Rose Okeno’s consecration and treated it as a side event. Instead, the main showpiece was the announcement by the Anglican Archbishop, Jackson Ole Sapit.

Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit banned politicians from church activities during a function in Butere where ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga were in attendance for the consecration.

“Nimepiga marufuku wanasiasa kuongea ndani ya kanisa ya Anglican,…in the church, everybody is welcome, but we have the pews and the pulpit. The pulpit is for the clergy and the pews are for everybody who came to worship,” said the Archbishop.

Since a majority of Kenyans are Christians, politicians have been seeking to identify with the church to win members’ support, and in some cases turned the services into political meetings.

“We welcome everyone, but we have to make the church to be the church. We have many leaders in attendance who we shall just recognise,” said Jackson Ole Sapit.

With a majority of Kenyans believed to be going to church every Sunday, the religious institutions are seen as a major puller of people, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when public gatherings are banned. The churches have been given a leeway to continue with services with limited members.

The ban on political gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic has also left religious institutions as the only gatherings where people are allowed to meet socially.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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