By Simon Kobia
Conflicts and fights over leadership in the mainstream and evangelical churches are a common phenomenon in Kenya today. Worshippers have for many times found themselves in a state of confusion when their leaders disagree on many administrative issues especially financial matters.
In efforts to seek the real state and the reasons for this problem, the Eastern Newspaper talked to the head of the National Independent Church that has its headquarters in Isiolo, Bishop Stephen Kalunyu, on why wrangles had become a permanent fixture-and the remedy.
Bishop Kalunyu revealed that most churches have diverted their focus from spiritual nourishment to financial gain. The cleric said gone are the days when the church was seen as a holy sanctuary where the faithful gathered for divine intervention on various issues. It is a situation that has been bred by a crop of selfish men and women who have opened churches for their selfish interests, he said.
“I was shocked when the Church missed in the list of essential services when the government partially locked down the country as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus, yet the Church is expected to pray for the country and engage in divine intervention in efforts to fight the virus. This is a strong indicator of how bad things are,” Kalunyu said.
A holder of a bachelor’s degree in divinity from St Paul’s University and a master’s degree in Missions from the same University, Kalunyu said the time had come for Church leaders to sit down and talk about the issues that are tearing apart the houses of God.
Currently, the 53-year-old man of God is partnering with the national Government and county governments, several NGOs in Isiolo, and other counties in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing food and personal protective items. He is also addressing the issue of social and gender marginalization in Marsabit, Samburu, Meru, and the neighboring counties.
Previously Kalunyu served as a Bishop at the National Independent Churches of Africa commonly known as NICA where he resigned and registered another church citing unfair politics in the Church that pushed him out.
He points out that his new Church is impacting positively to the lives of the people of Isiolo County and other counties where he has branches especially on the issue of peaceful coexistence between the communities of the eastern region and improvement and narrowing the gap between the civilians and the police that has been widening in the region.
“I am proud to say that under my leadership the National Independent Church has been able to strengthen the relationship between the local people and the police. Isiolo is a place where the two never used to see eye to eye, but now we are happy our community is in good relationship with the law enforcement agencies.” The Bishop has great hopes that with the opening of the places of worship the pandemic will be fought successfully through the power of prayer.
He urged all church leaders to ensure that guidelines by the Ministry of Health are followed, during, and after the Church services.