The crisis facing the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) has deepened after four churches announced their exit from the Central Kenya Conference (CKC).
In letters seen by Kahawa Tungu, two churches, Saika West and SDA KPCU, that were affiliated to SDA’s CKC decamped to rival group Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference (NCC) last Saturday.
“In reference to the foregoings at CKC, SDA KPCU Church, through a church board on September 7, 2019, and thereafter church business meeting held on September 14, 2019, members unanimously voted that the church ceases to be part of CKC immediately,” a notice reads.
In a similar notice, directed to CKC President Pastor John Kiragu, Saika West Church, notified the conference of their decision, noting that the decision was ‘not contestable.’
“Please note Saika West SDA is united and peaceful. The members plead that their decision be respected under the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Religious Liberty Policies and the Constitution of Kenya on the choice association,” the letter signed by Church clerk Alice Mogambi and Head Elder Peter Nyakundi reads in part.
The churches join a list of two other churches, Mountain View SDA in Nairobi and Meru-based Makandi church, that severed links with CKC recently.
Mountain View Church members are said to have chased their pastor, Wilson Githinji, citing prolonged strained relationship with the man of the cloth.
This writer understands that pastor Githinji has since been replaced by NCC’s assigned pastor Joseph Parmanyari, who is the immediate Ministerial Secretary of the East Kenya Union Conference (EKUC).
In the past two Sabbaths, members associated with NCC have been attending sabbath services at Mountain View Church in solidarity with the local members.
Some of the NCC members have accused pastor Kiragu of attempting to disrupt services at the church using “hired goons.”
However, last Sabbath, Kiragu was conspicuously absent as the services went on peacefully.
The new developments continue to elicit mixed reactions among members of the SDA church with some asking the leadership of the two wrangling groups to embrace dialogue.
Control of millions of shillings, in tithes and offerings, as well as scholarships, jobs in church-run schools and hospitals, are among issues said to be behind the dispute with NCC accusing CKC of ‘massive corruption’.
Some of the NCC leaders are members of the Nairobi Central SDA Church that was recently closed down by the state over chaotic scenes that paralyzed Sabbath services at the church for weeks.
The leaders accuse the pastorate, Jean Pierre Maiywa and Peter Nyaga of being part of the ‘injustice that has taken over the church’.