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Success Story: Kenya

Anja Buwalda
Director of CRWRC
Kenya

In 1998, Rev. Charles Muturi was transferred by his Anglican bishop to the Kangemi parish. At that time, this urban parish in a low-income area of Nairobi, Kenya, had about 375 worshippers at church each Sunday (55 at the English service, 20 at the Swahili service, and 300 at the Kikuyu service). The annual funds raised from the members was about Kshs. 800,000 (this was the maximum ever raised). Much of this was raised through "harambees" (fund-raising events and pledges).

That same year Pastor Charles attended the first of three Project Africa seminars. Looking back, he says that one of the keys to the Project Africa was the teaching in stewardship. He says that this teaching has greatly uplifted the Kangemi church. Charles admits that prior to Project Africa, he did not do any teaching on stewardship.

The Kangemi parish has done and continues to do the following since 1998:

  • It is the best giving church in the Diocese of Mount Kenya South. Annual collections are 4.3 million shillings (2002) and 5.1 million shillings (2003). This is raised strictly through collections. The church no longer engages in doing harambees.
  • The church pays its quota to the diocese on time and it pays its workers well and on time.
  • More intentional pastoral care has been ongoing. Charles believes that the number of worshippers who come on Sunday is clearly linked to this pastoral care. These days there are about 500 people at the English service, 100-200 at the Swahili service, and 800-1000 at the Kikuyu service. From 375 worshippers per Sunday to about 1500 per Sunday -- what a blessing!
  • Charles believes he is preparing better sermons for his people.
  • The church has done building projects: an office block, pavement in the compound, a shade for people to drink tea who are waiting for the service to end and the new one to start, and rental houses.
  • Currently, the church is trying to buy a plot of land to build a bigger church since the present building connot hold the people who come each Sunday. The money is already there. The church is also currently working on classrooms and an office block for a "good primary school."

In terms of outreach (most important), the church is supporting six orphaned children with uniforms and books in primary school (a girl just completed her standard 8 exams and did very well, getting 420 out of 500 marks); the church gives a monthly donation to the Rafiki HIV/AIDS home in Kikuyu town -- this orphanage has 26 children; the church also supports monthly the salaries of the pastor and evangelist in a poor Anglican parish in Mai Mayu (a village in the Rift Valley where CRWRC is also working with Chrisitan Community Services (CCS) -- the development arm of the Anglican Church.

In 2003, the Kangemi parish purchased 30 bicycles for the Diocesan Mission Areas of Ngong (6 Masai parishes) and Githunguri (13 parishes). These 30 bicycles are for the evangelists who work in these two mission areas and in these parishes.

In 2000, Pastor Charles was designated a canon by his bishop, Peter Njenga, in the Anglican church, diocese of Mount Kenya South. Soon after, he was asked to give training on Project Africa throughout the diocese. For example, on January 3 he will be training with the entire Limuru Deanary. Pastor Charles has also been a trainer for Project Africa in Uganda and Zambia.

In 2003, the bishop shared with me (Anja) that "Project Africa" has done something very significant. Look how Pastor Charles has written and published a manual to help him and his lay leaders train the congregations. He also now trains all around other dioceses because the results at Kangemi are so significant and people want to learn from that experience." Bishiop Njenga is the first Anglican bishop in Kenya who has spoken so confidently of Project Africa because of the results which he himself saw.

 

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