RT. Rev. Dr. Jackson Ole Sapit
Jackson Ole Sapit
Bishop Dr. Jackson ole Sapit has been elected the 6th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya. After an election that saw him favoured over his six other colleagues.
He was Born in June 1964 and trained for ministry at Berea College, and St Pauls University ( dip. 1992, BD. 1997).
He was ordained in 1992 and assigned vicar Belgut parish before being moved as Vicar Kilgoris Parish and project manager of Transmara Rural Development Programme.
He ably served as Nakuru Diocese’ Missions and Development Coordinator until 2002 when he went to University of Reading UK to study social development for sustainable livelihood [MA social development 2003]
He was made suffragan bishop of Nakuru diocese in 2004, until 2008 when the area that became Kericho diocese. The diocese was curved out of Nakuru diocese to serve covers the South Rift area of South West Kenya. Bishop ole Sapit became it’s first bishop.
He served as Chairman of Kenya Anglican Youth Organisation [KAYO] from 2006 until 2011 when he was appointed Chairman of the Provincial Board of Social Services, which was renamed Anglican Development Services (ADS).
The Board of Social Services and now (ADS) is a policy making body appointed by the Anglican Church of Kenya Provincial Synod to govern the social development services of the Church.
He is in the board of BECON AFRICA who also published some of his writing: ” Impact of climate change on food security a biblical reflection”.
He has built for Kericho a strong profile of International partners which include, Tearfund (UK) and Tearfund (NL), Diocese of Chichester (UK), Crosslinks, Trinity Cheltenham (UK), Church Army, World Vision, Christian Aid, Compassion, Comic Relief, EGPAF, Just Earth and Diakonia (Germany)
One of the diocese partners had this to say about his style:
” Bishop Sapit is a man of energy blessed with a scope of vision that is both inspiring and engaging. He is a team player and, rightly, understands that, as Archbishop Rowan Williams once said, “Only the whole Church is able to grasp the whole Gospel.” For that reason he seeks to involve every level of the Christian community in discerning its God-given gifts and talents, and identifying its unique place in God’s transformational activity in the world.”
In 2012 the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL) of Carlifornia USA, were impressed with his on going community work and recognised his contribution by awarding him an honorary Doctorate degree doctor of professional studies.
Tearfund nominated Bishop Sapit as GULL Ambassador.
Bishop has a passion to re-strategise the missions of the Anglican Church from mainly pulpit based into the society through integral missions.
He thinks that the churchs’ focus should be wholistic and interpersonal. He spoke passionately for the need to disciple youth through discipleship and mentoring.
The chief concern he raises is one of integration of the church:how can we bring in those on the margins?
Only an inclusive church and build around it credible leadership will make impact in Kenya today.
Unity of the church locally and internationally while maintaining focus of doctrine are so dear to him.
He is married to Esther Sapit and they have six children
Waving at the congregation gathered at All Saints After being elected
Canon Francis Omondi, Pastor Kyama Mugambi and Mr Omore C. Osendo
During his enthronement as the 3rd Anglican Archbishop January 1997, Bishop David Gitari publicly announced in his speech, that he would retire midnight of 16th September 2002. To many he seemed to be clarifying the ambiguity and drama that emerged at the end of Archbishop Festo Olang’s service. But underneath was the prophetic challenge to President Daniel Arap Moi, who was attending the function, to also be clear on his retirement. Moi’s rule had dragged on such that no one was sure he would leave power. Such a prophetic valor was rare at the time and came at great personal cost. Bishop David Gitari, among others, was willing to pay that cost. In the chaos characteristic of Kenya today, the incoming Archbishop will be expected to be the prophetic, fearlessly reprimanding, calling out and confronting impending dangers to the society.
Archbishop David Gitari
The issues in Kenya’s current socio-political landscape would challenge any formidable leader. The ICC conundrum which goes back almost 8 years since 2008, got the political establishment, the IDPs and the opposition all pulling in different directions, at different times. The ethnic undercurrents that emerged in the period could have pulled the Anglican church apart given its strong representation from opposing poles of the PEV divide. That the Anglican church remained largely united under this environment will be a feather in Archbishop Wabukala’s cap in times to come. The challenge of the incoming primate will be to preserve the legacy of an Anglican church that has remained united despise such great odds.
The 2013 transition between regimes, compounded by a contested election result, all in an ethnically divided nation, made for an eventful time in Kenya’s political history. While the voice of the Anglican Church was not as loud as it has been in the past, it did maintain a concerned, if not muted, aura. The outgoing Archbishop’s quiet mien and deliberate manner provided the Kenyan public with this lower key demeanor of Anglican leadership in the public sphere. The incoming Archbishop will have a variety of precedents in terms of leadership postures. If national leadership is a reflection, at least partly, of personal leadership practices, then the election of the Archbishop will need to factor in the leadership personalities of the individuals in the run.
It is corruption and economic crimes that, for good or ill, prompted a forceful response from the otherwise reserved outgoing Archbishop. In his call for the declaration of corruption as a national disaster in 2015, Archbishop Wabukala resonated with the public sentiment, and the opposition’s fever pitched protest that saw the exit of key government officials. A case could be made against his uncritical stance on the opposition’s lack of cohesion around a solid national agenda. Then again, one could say the same of key church leaders across the board on that subject. The church leadership must be ready to confront irresponsibility in any sitting government. It must also be willing to call into account potentially debilitating failure and lack of focus among the opposition. Going forward this will be an important area of meaningful engagement within the church generally, and for the incoming Anglican Archbishop in particular.
The outgoing Archbishop’s tenure also coincided with the transformation of All Saints Cathedral into a bustling hub of activity. The completion of the ministry centre and its commissioning into service surfaced a unique ecumenical dimension of the Anglican church’s relations with the wider church in Nairobi. While it will not escape notice that the centre provides a valuable income stream, what is noteworthy is the nature of activity at the centre. Multiple church traditions take part in the daylong and evening activities. This hopefully points to an important unifying role that the Anglican church is increasingly playing outside its engagement with the NCCK.
While the election of the Archbishop will not have a direct effect on this ecumenical perspective, there will likely be a residual impact of the incoming prelate’s preferences, which could reverberate through out the church. In recent years, the Anglican church has been more congenial in its interaction with the more established charismatic and pentecostal communities. The continuation of this will serve the prophetic cause of the Kenyan church going forward.
Kenya is a young nation. Researchers put the median age at 18 and postulate that the nation will remain young for the next 50 years. The East African Institute of the Agah Khan University recently published a East African Youth Survey that polled that 85% of Kenyan youth list faith as the most influencing value in their lives. Paradoxically, 50% of the same youth believe does it does not matter how one makes money as long as they do not go to jail, revealing a staggering deficit of integrity amongst Kenyan youth. The ability of the Anglican church to keep the youth engaged and focused falls squarely on the laps of the leadership of the church under the direction of the archbishop. Various initiatives have experienced mixed success with some congregations reporting high retention of young people, and others lamenting the loss of their youth to “these mushrooming churches.” Capturing the soul of the youth must remain on the front burner for all churches, new and historic alike, if we are to safeguard the nation’s moral fibre and spiritual future. Even if the incoming archbishop were to do nothing else, this is such a mammoth task that it would instantly fill his hands, and keep them that way for the rest of his tenure.
We must add a final word about the voice of the Kenyan Anglican church on the global platform. It would not be an understatement to say that if the Anglican church in Africa sneezes the Anglican church in the global West could be checking into ICU comatose with severe flu. The Anglican Church in Kenya is demographically significant. There are more Anglicans in Kenya than there are in all of North America. Kenya has more than twice as many Anglicans as the average weekly attendance of the Church of England in the UK. To its credit, in matters doctrine, the church in Africa has fiercely held to the evangelical tenets of traditional Anglicanism. A notable example is the question of the ordination of gay clergy. Kenyan Anglicans through the outgoing Archbishop have played their part valiantly. The incoming Archbishop carries with him a big responsibility to speak into the life of the entire denomination, more than half of who reside in Africa south of the Sahara.
Good leadership, like good sorghum porridge, takes the shape of the container that holds it, warming the container and its surroundings, while nourishing its beneficiary. The shape of the Kenyan political, social, economic, and spiritual landscape is clear. With this there is clarity on how the leadership of the church generally, and the Anglican Church in particular can respond to, influence and serve the public. We know the container, and what type of heat we need!
The incoming archbishop needs to be a shepherd, spiritually and physically attending to the needs of a nation in need of truth, light and comfort. It is abundantly clear now that the state of the Anglican denomination, locally and globally, points us to the need for a prophet. A leader who will speak authoritatively to the prime movers on all sides of the political divide calling them to account. He needs to be a prophet who will keep the church united and focused torwards a brighter national future, at a time of ethnic, political, and economic travails. The chosen leader will automatically have a global platform with which to affirm and, where necessary, defend the strength of the communion. He will also be faced with an internal challenge, God helping him, to sustain initiatives to corral the youth into the fold and engage them meaningfully, as a deposit for the future of the denomination. From amongst the contendors, Bishops Ochiel, Wanyoike, Waweru, Dena, Ole Sapit and Masamba, who is equal to the task?
Rev Canon Francis Omondi is an Anglican clergy of All Saints Cathedral and a Canon of All Saints Kampala.
Pastor Kyama Mugambi is pursuing his Doctoral Studies at Africa International University and on sabbatical from Mavuno church
Mr. Omore C. Osendo is a Governance and Public Policy Expert based in Nairobi.
WHO WILL BE THE 6th ARCHBISHOP OF The ACK?:
Profiles of The Candidates:
Canon Francis Omondi, Pastor Kyama Mugambi and Mr Omore C. Osendo
The task identifying the right man from among these six well-accomplished bishops for the 6th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya will not be easy. Perhaps they should, like John the Baptist, ask each of the candidates; ‘…are you the one or it’s the other…?’ Jesus response was revealing, as if to say ‘…weigh me on what you had seen me do and heard me say…’ Pray that electors will be guided by what they have seen and heard of the candidates:
Bishop Lawrence Dena
Bishop Lawrence K. Dena was born in Rabai in the mid 1950s. He began working as an untrained teacher in Kilifi. After training at Kericho Teachers College he taught for another 10 years. He worked with the Christian Churches Educational Association (CCEA) between 1988 and 1996 as the Coast Regional Education Secretary and Trainer who promoted the teaching of Christian Religious Education and Programmes of Pastoral Instruction in all Schools and carried out training conferences in the whole of Coast Region and many other parts of Kenya.
The C.C.E.A was responsible for the writing of academic Christian Education books for primary and secondary schools and Colleges. Among the most popular book that Bishop Dena co-authored is ‘God’s People’ a book for Form 2 students, still in use today. He was ordained in 1994 in Mombasa, and served in the church and as a School Chaplain in St. Augustine Mombasa for two years and Lenana School for nine years. He got his Masters Degree in Theology from Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST) in 2002.
In 2003 he was collated Canon of All Saints Cathedral Nairobi. He was concentrated and appointed Assistant Bishop of Mombasa Diocese in 2005. Following the death of Bishop William Wako, the 5th Provincial Secretary, Bishop Dena was appointed the Provincial Secretary by Archbishop Nzimbi and served from 2006 to 2009, serving as the Principal Assistant to the Archbishop in his last three years in office. Working closely with the Archbishop must have given him an inside track induction into the rigors of the office. The Post-Election Violence of 2007/8 presented a window to show case his peace building skills, during which he helped in brokering peace in the Rift Valley between various communities. He also lectured at Daystar University for 5 years and is completing his Doctoral Degree Studies on Leadership.
Mombasa Diocese was split to create Malindi Diocese which covered Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River Counties. Bishop Dena was enthroned as the first Bishop of Malindi Diocese in April 2015 when the country was still astounded by the Garissa University terrorist attacks that occurred at the beginning of the same month. In his address, Bishop Dena pledged to embrace all religions in the region and the political and religious leaders challenged him to join in the fight against radicalization, drug abuse and terrorism. He has always condemned attacks on churches alongside other religious clerics, terming them as “acts of criminals and hooligans” and not those of religious people. As Archbishop he is likely to have a deeper understanding of national issues that reflect the Coastal region especially on insecurity as well as inter-religious dialogue. His background in education and chaplaincy may also see him focus on the growing education sector where the Anglican church plays a significant role.
Bishop Dena holds several leadership positions within the church and para-church organizations. He is a governor of Church Commissioners for Kenya (CCK), Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC), Chairman of “Anglican Development Services” (ADS) Pwani Region, and Chairman of All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) Provident Fund Board of Trustees; Chairman of National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Coast Region, member of the National Executive Council of NCCK, and Mombasa County Education Board. He has been a member of the ACK Provincial Synod since 1985.
He is married to Jane Wasonga Dena and blessed with four grown-up children.
Bishop Dena is passionate about transforming church members’ lives spiritually with the Gospel of Christ, promoting family values, facilitating church development, and empowering all communities socially, intellectually and economically for a more dignified life.
Bishop Moses Masamba
Bishop Dr. Moses Masamba Nthuka was born in 1964. He trained for ministry at St. Paul’sTheological college [diploma and Bachelor in Divinity 1993-1997]. He was ordained in 1993 and served in several parishes in Embu and Mbeere dioceses. He obtained an MA in Pastoral Theology (MPth) from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge UK and did Post graduate Studies at Ridley hall, Cambridge . He returned to Kenya on appointment as the Academic Dean at St Andrews College of Theology and Development Kabare (2001 – 2003), as well as Tutor for Ordination Training. Bishop Masamba returned to the UK in preparation for his Phd from 2003 by doing postgraduate research studies at Trinity St David University Wales and Oxford Centre of Mission Studies up to 2006.
During this time he served as a Priest in Wormelow and St Weonards Group of Parishes of Wormelow Hundred and St Weonards Benefice in the Hereford Diocese of the Church of England. He got his PhD in pastoral theology from St Alcuin House Seminary, College of Theology, Minnesota USA, (2014)
He was elected the second Bishop of Mbeere Diocese after Bishop Gideon Ireri in 2008. He inherited a diocese rife with conflict and clan divisions. He successfully reconciled and brought healing to the warring factions in the church that mirrored the historical Mbeere clan and ethnic rivalry. Bishop Moses has showed himself as an astute mediator including being trusted by the county Government of Embu to be their mediator among the warring Mbeere and Embu leaders.
Bishop Masamba hosted Kenyan international footballer Victor Wanyama of the English Premier League club Southampton FC in Mbeere when he accompanied the Revd Andy Bowerman, Chaplain ,the Southampton FC and Anglican Alliance co-director. Andy was here to experience what Mbeere Diocese had developed, a Church Centred Sports Ministry for evangelism and reconciliation. “I went out to work with Bishop Moses in Mbeere, who had been inspired by a youth sports programme and had a vision for using football for mission and to bring about change in communities.”
The Proposed Anglican Church of Kenya University gave Bishop Masamba the opportunity to mobilize the Mbeere community, who donated and transferred 93 acres of Land with infrastructures for the construction of its Main Campus at Kanyuambora, Mbeere. He serves as the Vice Chair of Board of Trustees.
When the Mbeere Mother’s Union identified need for deaf children to access to secondary education, the Bishop with the partnership of Peter Cowey Africa Trust in 2012, established St Mary Magdalene High School for the Deaf in Riandu, Mbeere.
It would have been extremely challenging to run a diocese in the semi-arid drought prone region of Mbeere without cracking into the food problem facing the people. The bishop helped develop Sustainable Agriculture Livelihoods Innovations (SALI), supporting farmers develop resilient livelihoods through downscaling access to climate information and adaptation to climate forecasting by farmers; thus responding to the Climate Change issue.
If elected and enthroned as the sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Bishop Masamba is likely to have a poverty-reduction and equalization strategy, using education, climate change and food security and youth empowerment with his international connections to bridge the gap between different regions and demographic groups.
Bishop Moses has written much about faith-based organizations and poverty reduction in Kenya, including a recently published book: “Africa’s Faith Based Organizations in Transformational Development.” He is the Chairman of Anglican Church of Kenya Permanent Commission of Creation of Boundaries and New Diocese.
He is married to Lucy Mothoni Masamba and have 3 grown up children.
He is passionate about; Proclamation of a Gospel of Jesus Christ, Reconciliation, mediation and healing ministry, Peace and Justice, Research in Pastoral theological contextual issues, and Transformational Development.
Bishop Julius Wanyoike :
Bishop Julius Wanyoike was born in 1967 and trained for ministry at Bishop Kariuki College from 1991 to 1993. He was ordained in 1993. After serving in Old Ngong parish of the diocese of Mt. Kenya South. He further studied at Tangaza College for Bachelors in religious studies. In 1998 he was posted as Vicar of Makongeni parish in the newly created Thika Diocese. Julius was appointed the Diocesan Youth Organiser, acting Diocesan Secretary and personal assistant to Bishop Gideon Githaiga the first Bishop of Thika diocese.
Julius took a break from active ministry in Kenya to pursue post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom. He undertook two Masters degrees; in Mission Studies (2005) and Applied Theological Studies (2007) from the University of Wales and Birmingham respectively. During the time of his studies he served as an Associate Minister in the Diocese of Birmingham, at St. John’s Harborne, St. Michael’s Boldmere, and St. Chad’s Local Ecumenical Partnership Parish.
Bishop Wanyoike took a break from his doctoral studies in 2008 to take up the position of the Provost of the All Saints Cathedral in the All Saints Cathedral Diocese succeeding Canon Peter Karanja who went on to become the Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK). Here Julius ministered to a very large and complex congregation at the National Cathedral, where he was also appointed an Archdeacon. He oversaw the completion and the dedication of the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH-Trinity Center) for use by the Church for its Sunday youth services and its weekly commercial activities. The MPH was built through a campaign within the church that raised the funds over a long period of time.
While serving his second 5-year contract at the Cathedral, Rev. Julius Wanyoike was elected as the second Bishop of Thika Diocese, on 27th July, 2013, succeeding Rt. Rev. Dr. Gideon Githiga. Bishop Wanyoike was also elected as the Chairman of NCCK’s Nairobi Region covering Nairobi, Kiambu, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.
Bishop Wanyoike’s experience as the personal assistant to the first Bishop of Thika, his international experience as a post-graduate student and minister, his work as the Provost of All Saints Cathedral one of the busiest churches in Kenya and currently as Bishop of Thika Diocese has given him immersion experience in strategic leadership ,innovation and working closely with a diverse profile of people and cultures that could be valuable if elected as the sixth Archbishop of Kenya. The ACK’s dwindling youth profile and the growing youth demographics in the country would be his biggest challenge and greatest opportunity. In an interview with Thika Town Today publication Bishop Wanyoike said that ; “the church has a critical role in the ecumenical family and its voice must heard in the midst of people’s lives. It has its role too on how both the national and county governments are run. The internal mechanism of the church should always be felt outward for the gospel to have meaning to the congregation.”
Bishop Wanyoike is married to Esther and they have 3 children
Bishop James Ochiel :
Bishop James K. Ochiel was born in August 1964. He worked as an untrained teacher for 5 years. In preparation for ministry, he attended St. Paul’s Theological college (Bachelor of Divinity) and Great Lakes University of Kisumu where he got certificate in Economics, Higher Diploma in Community Health and Masters in Community Health with a major in public policy.
After ordination in 1993, worked as the Diocese of Southern Nyanza’s Administrative Secretary for Seven years. He was consecrated as the diocese’ 2nd bishop where has served for the last 14 years placing him among the senior bishops. He increased parishes from 21 to 40 presently and congregations from 80 to 250. For missions and expansion he has appointed a suffragan bishop for Kisii, raised the number of clergy from 24 to 60 and lay staff from 5 to 25.
This has been done in a multi ethnic Diocese with issues that mirrors the ethnic polarization affecting Kenya. Perhaps this challenge pushed him back to school; pursuing a PhD on Peace and Reconciliation. To support the ministry he initiated and developed an Ultra Modern Resort in Homa-Bay Town among several income initiatives for the members as well. He has provided leadership to the Victoria Inter-Diocesan Investment Company (VIDIC), whose portfolio stands at KES 700 million. VIDIC is an investment company for the then Diocese of Maseno South and originally conceptualized by Bishop Henry Okullu in 1985. The Diocese has since split into five different dioceses with each Bishop serving as a Trustee of the company and rotating as Chairmen.
Bishop Ochiel has continued in the prophetic tradition of select Anglican bishops such as Muge, Gitari and Okullu on social matters. In November 2007, Bishop Ochiel alongside his three other counterparts from the Nyanza region and one retired Bishop in an unprecedented move read a joint statement a month to the disputed December 2007 general election where they condemned hooliganism and urged Kenyans to turn out and vote peacefully. They (prophetically) called for a constitutional review process to be convened after the general election with a focus towards devolution of power and resources saying that “When the retired President Daniel Arap Moi succeeded as a President following the death of his predecessor, not only did the (centralised) system (of government) show weaknesses but the then president became an absolute leader sometimes referred to as a dictator. We, therefore, support a constitutional review immediately after this general election to ensure a devolved system of governance” (parentheses ours).
His consistency was evident in 2010 when he differed with the position the church took on the 2010 Constitution. He advised his flock to support the Proposed Constitution. Terming the document the best Kenyans have ever had he said: “Whereas the Proposed Constitution is not the revealed word of God or a penultimate moral code, it appreciates the dignity of humanity and the environment.” For him it was a matter of whether, they wanted to abet “an oppressive or a liberating constitution”. In 2013, Bishop Ochiel publicly opposed the plan by the MPs to have the Salaries and Remuneration Commission disbanded. He said the MPs had accepted the call to serve Kenyans after being elected and should stop demanding for higher salaries. “You should serve the people first before demanding for any pay rise,” said Ochiel.
Among the key issues Bishop Ochiel cares about is integrating the academy and practical ministry. He decries the lack of theological discourses and dialogues in the Anglican Church of Kenya. He is set to repositioning the ACK’s visibility on social justice being the conscience of the society.
If elected as the sixth Archbishop of the ACK, Bishop Ochiel is likely to be a reincarnation of his outspoken predecessors namely Arcbishops Gitari and Kuria and Bishop Alexander Muge. Passionate about good governance, he is likely to shift the focus of the church towards social justice, public policy and governance affairs especially during this period of anti-corruption advocacy, the polarized political scene and the uncertainty of the likelihood of a highly and bitterly contested gubernatorial elections in August 2017 general elections. Bishop Ochiel would also have a good grasp of how to increase the financial standing of the church form his experience in joint diocesan investments.
Bishop Ochiel is married to Christine and they have four children.
Bishop Jackson Ole Sapit
Bishop Dr. Jackson ole Sapit was Born in June 1964. He trained for ministry at Berea College, and St Pauls University ( dip. 1992, BD. 1997). He was ordained in 1992 and assigned Vicar of Belgut Parish before being moved to Kilgoris Parish as the Vicar and Project Manager of Transmara Rural Development Programme. He ably served as Nakuru Diocese’ Missions and Development Coordinator until 2002 when he went to University of Reading UK to study for a Masters in Social Development for Sustainable Livelihood.
He was made Assistant Bishop of Nakuru diocese in 2004 where he served until 2008 when the new Kericho Diocese was curved out of Nakuru diocese to serve the Southern Rift Valley area. Bishop Ole Sapit became it’s first Bishop enthroned in May 2008. One of his first major tasks in October 2009 together with two other Bishops was to oversee the tense elections of the Bishop of Bungoma Diocese to replace the newly elected Arcbishop Wabukala as ACK Archbishop in June 2009. He served as Chairman of Kenya Anglican Youth Organisation [KAYO] from 2006 until 2011 when he was appointed Chairman of the Provincial Board of Social Services, which was renamed Anglican Development Services (ADS). The ADS is a policy making body appointed by the Anglican Church of Kenya Provincial Synod to govern the social development services of the Church.
In his capacity as NCCK’s South Rift Chairman, Bishop Sapit has been at the forefront of governance and social issues coming out strongly against leadership wrangles in Narok County. In a statement in March 2015 following a Narok County church leaders conference, the leaders said that “The Governor .the Senator together with political leaders should give dialogue and mediation a chance; that promote peaceful coexistence and DO NO HARM principles in mitigating conflicting issues”
He has built for Kericho a strong profile of International partners which include, Tearfund (UK) and Tearfund (NL), Diocese of Chichester (UK), Crosslinks, Trinity Cheltenham (UK), Church Army, World Vision, Christian Aid, Compassion, Comic Relief, EGPAF, Just Earth and Diakonia (Germany).
One of the diocese partners had this to say about his style: ” Bishop Sapit is a man of energy blessed with a scope of vision that is both inspiring and engaging. He is a team player and, rightly, understands that, as Archbishop Rowan Williams once said, “Only the whole Church is able to grasp the whole Gospel.” For that reason he seeks to involve every level of the Christian community in discerning its God-given gifts and talents, and identifying its unique place in God’s transformational activity in the world.”
In 2012 the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL) of Carlifornia USA, were impressed with his on going community work and recognised his contribution by awarding him an honorary Doctorate degree doctor of professional studies. Tearfund nominated Bishop Sapit as GULL Ambassador.
Bishop Sapit has a passion to re-strategize the missions of the Anglican Church from mainly pulpit based into the society through integral missions. He thinks that the church’s’ focus should be wholistic and interpersonal. He spoke passionately for the need to disciple youth through discipleship and mentoring. The chief concern he raises is one of integration of the church: “How can we bring in those on the margins? Only an inclusive church and build around it credible leadership will make impact in Kenya today”. Unity of the church locally and internationally while maintaining focus of doctrine are so dear to him.
Bishop Sapit’s experience, networks and passion for community development resonates quite well with participatory development that is being experienced and encouraged within the devolved system of government. If elected as Archbishop, he is likely to ensure that the church, through its dioceses, aligns very strongly with the developmental agenda of the counties that they cover and become partners in improving the livelihoods of Kenyans, especially in poor, marginalized areas which he is very familiar with. For the direction that the country is taking with renewed focus on development, Bishop Sapit would be a good fit to pull the church towards this direction.
He is married to Esther Sapit and they have six children.
Bishop Joel Waweru
Bishop Joel Waweru Mwangi was born in 1959. Upon competing his ministry training in 1981, as Church Army Africa Evangelist (Carlile College) , he served at St. James & All Martyrs Cathedral, Murang’a as a Church Army Evangelist. He returned to Church Army as Training Officer and Lecturer, Administrative Officer, Assistant General Secretary and Acting General Secretary. He served Church Army Africa for 10 years. The further studies at the University of Nairobi [religious studies ] and East African School of Theology [biblical theology in 1990] aided his transition to ordination. He was ordained in 1993 at All Saints Cathedral Nairobi to serve in the Nairobi Diocese.
Between 1996 – 1999 he went to Hallam Pastoral Institute (Sheffield UK.) for a Master of Arts in Theology. While in the UK he ministered at St. Mary’s Brammall Lane, as Assistant Minister and St. Silas Parish, Broomhall, as presiding Minister in the Diocese of Sheffield. Rev. Waweru continued to represent Church Army Africa internationally, including a 1998 at Buckingham Palace before Her Majesty the Queen and at Church Army World leaders conference in Bournemouth, England. He continues to actively participate in the Church Army activities.
He returned to Kenya in 2000 to serve as the Diocesan youth organiser before his assignment as the vicar of St. Polycarp Mlango Kubwa. It was while serving at St. James Buruburu that he was Collated and installed Canon and inducted Archdeacon in 2002.
In 2010 he was elected the 2nd bishop of Nairobi diocese succeeding Bishop Peter Njoka. He is reputed to have set up the best Diocesan Terms and Service Conditions in the ACK, including the establishment of Adonai Insurance Agency that takes care of all insurance issue for clergy and their families covered by the Diocese. Being in the capital city, he has had the privilege of serving all ethnicities of this country. His assigning of positions have been lauded as the most inclusive and balanced ethnically.
He has intentionally developed outreach to nearly all the Dioceses in Kenya, sharing vital financial resources during their fundraising and supported whenever need be.
He has used his membership in the Resource mobilization of Group of the Peer Mentoring Workshops for Trinity Wall Street Grants Programme (Strengthening the Anglican Communion in Africa), to not only develop his diocese but also other Kenyan bishops.
For the last 5 years bishop has been a member of the Bishops in Dialogue meetings at Coventry Cathedral (with other Bishops in the Anglican Communion). Here they have sought to understand, trust and respect one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, even when they do not agree.
“The experience has helped me accept and accommodate people who have different opinions [and] approach issues with an open heart and mind with the love of God in Christ Jesus. [I] am reminded of Christ, who met with the prostitute and the tax collector, and he accommodated them”, he said.
In August 2014 he was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to address the Collegiate of Church of England Bishops on human sexuality giving a Kenyan perspective.
Bishop Waweru was elected as a member of the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) held in Lusaka Zambia this April. The ACC facilitates the co-operative work of the 38 autonomous but interdependent national and regional Churches and the six extra-provincial churches and dioceses that are in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Through the ACC, churches of the Anglican Communion exchange information and co-ordinate common action. The ACC also advises on the organisation and structures of the Anglican Communion, and seeks to develop common policies on world mission and ecumenical matters. In this Role he will bring in a significantly silenced voice of orthodoxy in the Anglican communion matters. Bishop Waweru believes strongly in Partnership within the body of Christ, engage in creative ministry providing every opportunity for every person to encounter and experience the joy of Jesus Christ and achieve sustainable growth of the church.
He is married to Mrs Tabitha Muthoni Waweru and are blessed with 2 adult daughters
And blessed is the one who is not offended by the one they elect the 6th Archbishop of Kenya.
Rev Canon Francis Omondi is an Anglican clergy of All Saints Cathedral and a Canon of All Saints Kampala.
Pastor Kyama Mugambi is pursuing his Doctoral Studies at Africa International University and on sabbatical from Mavuno church
Mr. Omore C. Osendo is a Governance and Public Policy Expert based in Nairobi.
Lessons from Past ACK Archbishops
By Rev Canon Francis Omondi, Pastor Kyama Mugambi and Mr. Omore C. Osendo.
The curtains are closing on the seven-year tenure of the fifth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), His Grace The Most Rev (Dr.) Eliud Wabukala. Archbishop Wabukala was elected and thereafter enthroned on 7th July 2009.
He retired on account of attaining the age limit for serving in the office. The office of the ACK Archbishop is amongst the most respected and influential religious leaders in the country where he exercises spiritual leadership over the close to 6 million members and is the official spokesperson of the church on national and international issues.
There are six candidates from whom the electors will have to pick the 6th Archbishop: Bishop (Dr). Moses Masamba Nthuka of Mbeere Diocese, Bishop James Kenneth Ochiel of Southern Nyanza Diocese, Bishop Joel Waweru of Nairobi Diocese, Bishop Lawrence Kavutsa Dena of Malindi Diocese, Bishop Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit of Kericho Diocese and Bishop Julius N. Wanyoike of Thika Diocese.
L-R : Sapit, Wanyoike, Dena, (the dean of the province Bishop Wasonga) Ochiel, Masamba and Waweru.
The next Archbishop has five predecessors to learn from. Archbishops Festo Olang, Manasses Kuria, David Gitari, Benjamin Nzimbi and Eliud Wabukala have all served during critical transitions and seasons of the country and have been called upon on different occasions to speak prophetically to the socio-economic and political situations the country has faced. This is coupled with providing leadership to the Anglican community locally and representation in the global Anglican community gives the Primate a full plate from their first day in office.
The first African Archbishop, Rev. Festo Olang, was enthroned in 1970. Archbishop Olang, a man of many firsts in the African Anglican Communion, a protégé of Edward Carey Francis and alumni of Alliance High School hosted the inaugural Anglican Consultative Council in Limuru in 1971. The ACC is more like a global Anglicanism Annual General Meeting. In 1977 he hosted the first conference of African Anglican Bishops that formed into the Conference of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and was elected the first Chairman in 1977.
However one act that Archbishop Festo Olang did whose effects reverberate to date was the creation of the Dioceses of Maseno North and Maseno South. Until 1971, the only Dioceses were Fort Hall, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nairobi and Maseno. Naturally with the growth of the church comes the creation of new dioceses to make administration better. The Diocese of Maseno owned or managed the Maseno School, the Maseno Hospital and the St. Phillips Bible College, all established by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) which was the missionary order or wing of the Anglican Church. The division of Maseno Diocese brought about a dispute over which diocese “owned” the three institutions as Maseno town sat right at the border of the two dioceses.
The colonial ethnic boundary separating the North Kavirondo (Luhyias) and the Central Kavirondo (Luos) that is at Maseno, is said to have informed the boundary of the Dioceses. In May 2015, the Governor of Vihiga County claimed that Maseno belongs to Vihiga and not Kisumu County, and that they are losing revenue because of this. This has resulted in a border dispute that got the attention of the Speaker following a petition by Luanda MP, Hon. Chris Omulele. During a visit by the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to Maseno from May 13th – 15th 2016 to begin resolving the border dispute, elders pointed to the creation of the two Anglican Dioceses as one of the main contributors to the dispute claiming that congregations within the respective dioceses that had pockets of the minority ethnic communities were managed by the Bishop of that community in the bordering diocese.
Archbishop Olang retired on his birthday after he convened a Synod meeting for two days after his birthday and he was duly informed that he would be ineligible to preside over it. However the process of electing Archbishop Olang’s successor was deemed as controversial and widely regarded to have been influenced by the then powerful Attorney General Charles Njonjo. In their respective autobiographies, Bishop Okullu and Archbishops Gitari and Kuria give their own account of this transition process pointing to political interference and ethno-political posturing, which has also been witnessed in subsequent elections. Bishop Okullu and Bishop Nzano were the candidates during this election.
Archbishop Manasses Kuria was elected and enthroned as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in 1980 having served as Bishop of the Diocese of Nakuru from 1976. He served until 1994, 14 of President Moi’s 24 years in office including the one-party state period of 1982 –1990. President Moi’s first six years (1978 – 1984) were perceived by the church as being promising. Moi was faithful in his church attendance that was televised weekly throughout his 24-year presidency. He also ascended to power with the promise to release political prisoners, fight tribalism and corruption, all espoused in the nyayo philosophy of peace, love and unity. However, after the 1982 coup, Moi recoiled and became more hardline politically to deal with growing dissent.
From 1985, vocal Anglican bishops like David Gitari, Henry Okullu and Alexander Kipsang Muge together with Nakuru Catholic Bishop Ndingi Mwana-A-Nzeki and the Presbyterian cleric Timothy Njoya mounted a strong campaign against electoral malpractice and human rights abuses. They strongly condemned the change in the electoral system in 1988 from secret ballot to queue voting (mlolongo). Archbishop Kuria actively lent his voice especially when opposition leaders were arrested and detained in 1990. Like the condemnation of civil society and pro-democracy activists today as foreign agents or traitors, the Anglican Church and specifically Archbishop Manasses Kuria and Bishop Okullu were discussed in Parliament in June 1991, with Kuria being described as “a Provincial Administrator” and that the government should “get rid of these characters who are out to breach the peace”.
Archbishop David Gitari was enthroned in January 1997 and retired in September 2002, serving the full term of Kenya’s 8th Parliament. As a young Bishop of Mt. Kenya East from 1975, Bishop Gitari preached stinging sermons after the assassination of politician J.M. Kariuki ,in 1989 against queue voting and in 1990 following the assassination of the Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Robert Ouko. Archbishop Gitari’s first year as Archbishop found him in a rather turbulent political period. In the run up to the December 1997 general election, the civil society and the opposition MPs ganged up to press for constitutional reforms that included credible elections and the powers of the presidency. The MPs disrupted the Budget speech in June. In July, church leaders joined the pro-reform group to hold an unlicensed rally that police swiftly disrupted. Protesters seeking refuge at the All Saints Cathedral church were pursued right inside, beaten into a pulp and tear gas canisters were thrown into the church.
Archbishop Gitari organized a cleansing ceremony the following week that attracted international attention and global condemnation of what took place there. He preached a famous sermon from Daniel Chapter 5 where he concluded that if the President does not fulfill the wish for a new constitution and respect for human rights, God will write on the State House wall. President Moi ceded and the 1997 general elections saw a rare political agreement between the government and the opposition Members of Parliament, who ,through the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group (IPPG) , were able to settle on minimum reforms including the inclusion of more electoral commissioners nominated by opposition parliamentary parties and a revision of the law to give the commission more operational independence.
When the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), Archbishop Gitari testified in their Nyeri sitting where he brought up the cases of the murder of JM Kariuki and Dr. Robert Ouko.
Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi was enthroned as the 4th Archbishop of the ACK on September 2002 and served until June 2009. In his enthronement speech, he paid tribute to Retired Archbishop Gitari for his bold leadership, vowing to follow in his footsteps and adapting a famous poem, said: “Gitari ni hodari; Gitari ni daktari; Gitari ni jemedari; Gitari ni hatari” (Gitari is bold; Gitari is a doctor; Gitari is an army commander; Gitari is dangerous). Archbishop Nzimbi started serving at the end of KANU’s reign and throughout President Kibaki’s first term into the 2007 post-election violence period.
Naturally the church and the civil society took time to readjust to the new political dispensation led by President Kibaki, often being accused of being slow to point out the ills of a regime that improved the economy and Kenya’s international standing but deepened the ethnic, class and demographic divisions further. The lull in the advocacy role of the church allowed Nzimbi to shift the focus of the church towards expanding missions, promoting evangelisms and engaging society for social transformation; issues he had a passion in since his consecration as the first Bishop of Machakos Diocese in 1985 and the first Bishop of Kitui Diocese in 1995. This saw him oppose the inclusion of abortion related or implied clauses and the proposal to embed Kadhi courts in the draft Constitution during the 2005 referendum.
Additionally, Archbishop Nzimbi opposed the acceptance of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions by the Episcopal Church in North America and Canada. In August 2007, Archbishop Nzimbi consecrated two rebel American priests as Bishops under the jurisdiction of the ACK but with oversight over 30 congregations in the US. The priests were opposed to the Episcopal Church’s tolerance of homosexuality. Archbishop Nzimbi became a leading figure in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and attended the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in 2008 where the Jerusalem Declaration was signed “to declare the tenets of orthodoxy that underpin their identity as Anglicans”. Notably, declaration 8 stated that: “We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married”.
The 2005 Constitutional Referendum that split the ruling coalition down the middle, the disputed 2007/8 general election and post election violence that followed was a blot in the country and the church was taken to task for its role in being partisan or not speaking boldly as the country spiraled into ethnic division. Archbishop Nzimbi was instrumental in the mediation process between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki, urging them to open dialogue between themselves and give hope to the people. As the then Chairman of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, Archbishop Nzimbi commented that “although religious leaders have been pulled so much by their tribal feelings, they have been working hard together before, during, and after the election asking people to choose peace and prevent chaos.”. In October 2008 during the debate on whether to create a special tribunal to try the perpetrators of the violence or whether to provide amnesty to them as part of a healing process, Archbishop Nzimbi supported the full implementation of the Waki Report, rejecting calls for amnesty for perpetrators of crimes.
Archbishop Wabukala’s enthronement as the 5th Archbishop of ACK in July 2009 took place when the country was picking up the pieces from the 2007/8 post-election violence. The Constitution Review Process was underway alongside other key reform process including the review of the electoral system and the inquiry into the violence leading to the submission of names of those deemed to hold the highest responsibility over the devastating violence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague at the end of 2010. Wabukala chaired the ACK’s Constitution Review Commission.
During his enthronement service, Archbishop Wabukala laid out the priorities of the church that he intends to focus on, in his charge. On advocacy and national reforms the Archbishop said that “we will not shy away from speaking out against social ills or pleading the case of the needy and downtrodden. Nevertheless, we will be faithful in praying for our society and its leaders, and where possible we will support and complement the efforts of government and other players in service delivery”. On healing and reconciliation, the Archbishop noted “the unity we should be pursuing should indeed be like that of the three persons of God. The way God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit relate to each other. Their relationship prospers perfectly because it is based on truth, justice and sacrificial love…however brethren, without the truth, unity is at best superficial. At worst it is merely window dressing that is a thin layer of apparent respectability covering situations that are actually toxic”.
In May 2010, Archbishop Wabukala speaking on behalf of the Anglican House of Bishops rejected the final revised draft of the Constitution that had been endorsed by Parliament and the Cabinet, citing the refusal for amendments to clauses they did not agree with including the inclusion of Kadhi courts and the permissive stance on abortion. The Archbishop however said congregants were free to participate in the campaigns against the Constitution but the leadership of the church will stay out of the campaigns. Interestingly, Retired Archbishop David Gitari fully supported the new constitution stating that “The draft constitution is democratic and guarantees justice, end of corruption and impunity therefore we cannot be neutral on this matter,” while Wabukala’s immediate predecessor, Retired Archbishop Nzimbi opposed the new constitution stating that “as a matter of conscience he could not support the abortion and Kadhi court clauses.”
Wabukala’s tenure as Archbishop (2009 – 2016) coincides with the promulgation of the new constitution in August 2010 that ushers in drastic changes in Kenya’s socio-economic, political and public policy profiles key among them being the introduction of devolution of power and resources, a robust bill of rights, fought for by Archbishops Kuria and Gitari and the ICC process.
Education was flagged as one of the priorities in his enthronement charge. The ACK’s involvement in the national curriculum review and convening its own conference on education in March 2016 underscored the importance Archbishop Wabukala places on the matter. However, the traction for an Anglican University seems to have slowed down. The ACK is the only mainstream church that does not have its own university. St. Paul’s University in Limuru is jointly owned and sponsored by the Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians.
Archbishop Wabukala’s membership in the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee (NACCSC), serving, as Chairman in his second term will be judged lately with the high incidences of reporting of corruption scandals. Is this an indication of better access to information, successful whistleblowing or credible public education campaigns by NACCSC?
Archbishop Wabukala continued with Retired Archbishop Nzimbi’s consistent and committed stand and participation in GAFCON and was elected the Chair, a role he relinquished in the GAFCON Council in Nairobi April 18th – 22nd. He has particularly maintained a tough stand with regard to dealing with the American Episcopal Church and declined to attend the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka (April 8th – 19th 2016 ) because of the presence of the Episcopal Church who had earlier in January 2016 been asked to keep off the organs of the Anglican Communion for three years. The Archbishops of Nigeria ,Rwanda and Egypt are amongst those who have declined to attend. However ,Kenya’s delegation attended and Bishop Joel Waweru, a contender for Archbishop, was elected into the Standing Committee of the ACC.
Whoever is elected will have to rich heritage of Archbishops to learn from. Examples to emulate or mistakes to avoid.
Rev Canon Francis Omondi is a clergy of the All Saints Cathedral Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya.
Kyama Mugambi is a Doctorate student at the African International University.
Omore Osendo is a Governance and Public Policy Expert based in Nairobi.