Gay Kenyan Anglicans Send Strong Message to Lambeth Conference
Posted on June 30, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
By Rev. John Makokha
Other Sheep Coordinator/United Methodist Minister.
NAIROBI, June 28, 2008 (Other Sheep) – Kenyan Anglican clergy, gays and allies have sent a strong message of affirmation and inclusiveness to the bishops at the forthcoming Lambeth conference, due to be held next month.
The message was unanimously agreed at the ceremony organised by Integrity USA, a pro-gay Anglican based group, in partnership with the Other Sheep organisation in Kenya at a meeting last week.
Rev. Cynthia Black and Katie Sherrod from Integrity USA carried out the personal interview of the participants using video recording. The objective of this program was to take the voices and faces of gays, lesbians and allies to the Lambeth conference for the Anglican bishops to see and hear from the horse’s own mouth.
Rev. Michael Kimindu, an Anglican priest and Other Sheep East Africa Coordinator, said that it is hard for young people to discover that they are gay in Kenya.
They come to fear God and hate themselves, he pointed out, adding that society and religious condemnation causes young gay people to live in isolation, depression and subsequently commit suicide in schools, colleges and homes.
“Religious teachings are against homosexuality, and for us allies we are looked at as people promoting a gay movement in Africa,” said Rev. Kimindu.
“You cannot discourage or promote what you cannot change. It is not a choice – it is inborn.”
His message to the bishops was that they should be bishops and not judges.
“[The bishops] should appreciate the diversity of God’s gifts in relation to the clergy and laity in the church without being dictators. [They] should commission well educated people to conduct a research on homosexuality. The findings can help remove grey hairs in their approach.”
Rev. Kimindu said that the church in Kenya has lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons who have questions and are seeking answers.
“They are living in the closet due to fear of stigma and condemnation propagated by religious homophobia.”
He said the bishops should stop thinking that homosexuality is un-African.
“The truth of the matter is homosexuality is part of human history and since civilization started in Africa, therefore homosexuality started from Africa. We should not blame the West for introducing homosexuality.”
The meeting last week heard from a number of Christian gay men and women.
Peter Wanyama and Fabian, who are Anglicans and partners, said that they hoped the church will one day bless their union. They have been partners for two years and they love each other so much.
Wanyama said that there are so many gay and lesbian people in all cadres of leadership in the society and the church in Kenya.
“The church receives our offerings, tithes and utilizes our gifts and yet discriminates against us,” he said.
His message to the bishops is that they should represent Christ holistically. They should stop looking at gays and lesbians as enemies.
“We need to be inclusive and accepted in our church where my late father was a priest.”
Maxi who is a lesbian said she knew her sexual orientation when she was eight years old and in a boarding school. This caused her to live in isolation until she met other lesbians in high school, college and community.
She used to be Catholic but drifted because of anti-gay sermons. She is the secretary of PFLAG (Parents, Friends of lesbians and gay), a ministry of Other Sheep in Kenya. The aim is to seek allies in the society, church and the government, to understand gay and lesbian people in a positive way.
Solo who is gay said he does not go to any church because of the spiritual violence spearheaded by anti-gay sermons.
He said he is ready to go to church if there is affirmation and acceptance of gay persons.
“They should stop seeing us as the worst sinners when they are wallowing in the miasm of tribalism and corruption.”
Ben who is gay and Pentecostal said he knew he was gay when he was 7 years old. His twin brother is also gay. He met so many gay friends in high school. He said he is tired of staying in the closet.
“For a long time I was suicidal without seeking a solution from the church. It has been a real struggle.”
This posting was automatically generated from a feed from Gay News Blog Read more….Bishops turning back on Lambeth
What if the Anglicans gave a schims and nobody left?
HRC: Send a Tax Day message to Congress
Evangelicals Send Message to McCain
Anglicans poised to split from church