The Nairobi Central SDA church was closed on Sabbath, August 10 and congregants told to worship at the nearby St George's Secondary School.
The wrangling Nairobi Central SDA Church has expelled 15 of its members ahead of the annual camp, which kicks off today.
At the same time, the chaos that have rocked the church have forced top government officials who worship there to seek sojourn in alternate churches.
The Wednesday’s expulsion of the 15 by the Central Kenya Conference president Pr John Kiragu Ngunyi is expected to add fuel to the fire expected in today’s service. A guest speaker, Dr Lael Caesar, will be presiding over the camp themed “saved by His grace”.
The the church claims that the 15 expelled members, are the main trouble-makers.
“This is to let you know that the persons named do not belong to the Seventh Day Adventist faith and their names were dropped from our books,” the letter addressed to all pastors and churches of the Central Kenya Conference says.
An earlier meeting held at a hotel in Kilimani, Nairobi, failed to reach a consensus last Wednesday as the warring parties declined to cede ground. This situation is a disgrace to the entire SDA Church.
Fulcrum7 reached out to individuals in the Nairobi area for input on this kerfluffle. Here is what one member had to say:
The problem has been festering for a while and that particular church has been a sore in the neck of Conference and Union leaders. They ask or question too much instead of handing in their millions and millions of funds in tithes and keeping silent. It has the who-is-who in Kenyan society on their membership. The nation’s Chief Justice is an elder there, several Judges, professors, ministers and other high ranking professionals regularly attend that Church. Members number over 2000 and it has been a thriving church with many many highly informed and committed members. The Conference and Union have been increasingly uncomfortable.
AFCOE runs its school from that Church and the program has been running very successfully for many years. A few years ago the Union asked Amazing Facts to hand over the program, training material and funds so the Union would run it on behalf of Amazing Facts. The request was declined and they ordered the program stopped.
Ethiopian Union welcomed Amazing Facts with open arms but before AFCOE moved, the Church Board asked the Union to stop its shenanigans or else they withhold tithes - that Church’s tithes are sufficient to run the Union affairs (let alone the Conference)! The union relented and AFCOE continues without any further interruption. The Union and Conference have ever since tried to get a pliant leadership in that Church. A pastor was sent there and tasked to achieve that goal by any means.
The last Union and Conference elections were blatantly rigged.
The Conference had 37 churches with about 29 of them being in Nairobi. The remaining 8 churches (all in Conference-president-friendly areas were split up into many little Stations each of which was entitled to send a delegate to the Conference session.
Nairobi with 29 out of 37 churches, was left as one station and so the number of its delegates was not representative of the size of membership.
The Conference leaders are said to be a product of voter manipulation. The Union was in on it as were the Division leaders. That’s why none of them has the moral ground to stand up and resolve the issue.
Union elections were skewed in exactly the same way. Some Conferences were restricted to sending 5 delegates whereas the leadership-friendly areas were allowed up to 20 delegates each.
Nairobi Central Church members were the most vocal opponents of that mischief and their appeals to the Conference, Union and Division (even to the GC HQs) were unfruitful. Then they made one wrong move after another. Perhaps egos took over and two wrongs didn’t seem to be a problem.
A few members from Nairobi Central Church plus others from elsewhere in Nairobi went ahead and formed what they called Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference. They started canvassing Churches and members across the large city. Their move was outside the provisions of the Church Manual.
The Union took them to Court and won. The individuals wanted to appeal but were referred to established/internal policies and procedures. In other words it was a dead end.
Those who were members of Nairobi Central Church and their sympathisers were blacklisted. At a church business meeting, names were proposed to sit on the nominating committee but the pastor demanded certain names be removed. Some people opposed and some sided with him. He worked with a few and came up with some list he forcefully wanted to read out on one Sabbath.
The affected members disrupted the service in a very unChristian way. Things have degenerated ever since as the pastor started bringing in plain clothes police officers to Church on Sabbaths. The final straw was this last Sabbath when he read out a list of those his team had decided to disfellowship and ban from attending services . Then he shut the church and rented the Hall at a nearby Catholic High School where they are now holding their camp meeting.
The Conference president put out a notice informing all that the individuals are no longer members of the SDA Church.
All along, a group of Adventist lawyers have been trying hard to mediate and resolve the conflict but the Conference and Union leadership haven’t shown much interest. It is their way or the highway.
Those unsatisfied with the processes now have nowhere to turn to.
The ball is squarely in the courts of the Conference, Union and Division. The fight isn’t and never was a local church fight. The local church is a proxy battleground. That was a Conference fight and ought to have been resolved at the Conference offices by the Union officers.
Because of the ugly and poor handling of the situation our church and ultimately the name of God is being mocked by unbelievers. Pride and covetousness are now running the show and some ministers have ceased to be ministers and become politicians and money worshippers.
There are many unconverted souls in leadership as well as on the pews of our churches.
Lord have mercy.
That is what I have learned.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10).