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.