Our vision as Bondo Diocese is to work towards seeing communities of believers who live life in abundance, in harmony with one another, and reconciled to their Creator.

This vision is driven by the reality of Pentecost which brings a new dawn for all of us, young and the older in age. Through this, our aspiration is to see faith communities where both the young and the elderly have mutual respect for one another. Grounded in the Anglican Church of Kenya 10 years theme, “A Wholesome Ministry for a Wholesome Nation”, thisvision is to guide our Church with clear strategic direction in the period 2017-2026.

It is a vision that is deeply rooted in values that last, values that teach us that we can love, care and bear one another’s’ burden.

Main Objectives

In order to realize our vision and mission, here are five main objectives and key implementation areas;

1. Promoting Holistic Evangelism and Mission

This is our agenda number one. The Main mission of the church is about reaching out with the holistic Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, the Church must move out of its comfort zone, and reach out to the poor and outcast, sharing their concerns, identifying with their suffering, and meeting their needs. The Pentecostal reality must move us to sites like Oyamo and Majimbo to share the Gospel with the fisher folk. We must be found joining the young in the football fields along the beaches. We should be found praying with and accompanying the sick in our dispensaries and health centres. The church must interact with the people in the pews. It must become a “church for others”, a church that empowers the marginalized. My concept of the church is that it must become a community of and for all where all segments of society come together within the framework of a common life and decision-making, where the voices of women are heard, the youth will not just be invited to carry forms and make food for visitors, but that they will participate actively in worship.

My goal is to strengthen “ cell groups” as centres of holistic mission. These are Centres of innovation. These are safe places where persons Living with HIV and AIDS find solace. They express themselves freely. We must challenge inaction and misaction, from the part of our church leadership on matters of HIV and AIDS. Its time to go on our knees and confess that we have discriminated against many people in our midst who are HIV positive. We have condemned them to death.

The Church should be ready to bring healing and reconciliation to the broken humanity and creation. The church should transform the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. The church is mandated to exercise its responsible stewardship over the creation. It is clear that a divided church cannot have a credible witness in a broken world. “The church can no longer stay inside the “fortress” as a self-contained reality; it must interact with its environment. The church cannot transform the world from inside the walls. It must reach out, become and remain a missionary church”[1]. To this end, we shall work hand in hand with para church organisations to realize our goal. These will include and not limited to Scripture Union, Nyanza Evangelistic Team, the NCCK in this Region; Life Ministry; Trinity Fellowship; Tukutendereza/Revival brethren. We cherish with great delight the role that you are all playing and we cannot go it alone. We need your company as we press on infecting everyone with the good news. Evangelism is all about good news, what then would be good news to the sick, other than healing, the corrupt officer other than repentance and forgiveness, the hungry other than plenty? Good news must be manifested in the reality of living acceptable not only by human standard but also by divine providence.

Essentially the church must never feel that they have arrived. We must be men and women who are on a pilgrimage. This experience must dominate our thinking and agenda, so that we don’t become complacent and live as if Christ is not coming back again.Evangelism is the heartbeat of our calling to the ministry. We want to challenge all the key actors including the Ecumenical Family to live up to her expectation and make evangelism a critical component of their  programs. It is through evangelistic enterprise that we reach out to the world. Our focus for the first five years of my episcopacy will be to strengthen our web of evangelism by promoting inter-parishes missions, partnership in missions and retraining our evangelists and clergy to cope with the changing needs of our time. Our motto will be “ fill the church” for Christ.  The realization that our pews are almost virtually vacant due to Low Church attendance is a cause for rapid intervention. This would require adopting new models for evangelism, resource mobilization, and strengthening of current outfits –children ministry, youth ministry, mothers union, KAMA just to mention a few.

Our agenda for youth is to seek to disarm them from the struggles of underemployment, drug abuse, and addiction to negative social media. We therefore seek to rearm them with the Gospel that will enable them to rediscover their noble role on society. Youth, you are special before God. Take your rightful positions and don’t feel intimidated.

2. Cultivating the Entrepreneurship Spirit

This is our agenda number two. Experience has taught us that any drive to social action that is not anchored in an enduring entrepreneurial spirit will not last. Our Country today has not arrived. We are still struggling with basic realities of life. A few weeks ago, the Minister in charge of devolution and Planning launched the Economic Survey for the Country. In that Survey, the economy grew by 5.8 per cent in 2016[2] compared to a revised growth of 5.7 per cent in 2015. Our economy remained resilient in the face of one of the worst droughts witnessed in the last quarter of 2016. As many of us are aware, this growth was largely driven by ongoing public infrastructure development, e.g. roads construction; tourism which had a remarkable improvement as it benefitted from improved security with the number of international visitor arrival expanding by 13.5 per cent in 2016 to 1.34 million;

Poverty is still real and biting and the reported growth is yet to be translated into food on the table for the majority of our people. Poverty remains real and growth is very much urban driven. Our critical dependence on rain fed agriculture at a time when weather has remain unpredictable, is not helping either. Today we are witnessing growing unemployment and underemployment of our youth. Many who have had chance to access University education come home very distressed.

The Pentecost experience does demonstrate how the early church used its entrepreneurship spirit to reach out to many with the whole some Gospel. For a church to gain her position as the embodiment of holistic gospel, she has to live to her expectation as the epicenter of God’s gracious gifts to man. The church must present herself as the bread to the world, the living water, the fullness of God’s grace, the arena for social justice and moral excellence. For these to be realized to their fullness, my episcopacy will embrace the culture of creative thinking and action oriented economic activities. Our major role in the field of entrepreneurship is to ensure that our people are fully engaged in the economic life of our nation. Addressing employment among the youth, and sound policies to ensure that no one gets to sleep with empty stomach, and no one sleeps on the street. We must engage our Christians in viable economic activities that would help to restore their human dignity. We  don’t believe in perpetuating the culture of laziness. Our policy will be to enhance the quality of life of our Christians and it is in doing so that we shall be able to shun the begging culture that dehumanizes us as a people.

We will in this endeavour embrace partnerships with like minded groups of people, county government and other agencies both civil and governmental to ensure that we exploit every potential in this region that would help us to address the menace of poverty and helplessness.  It is such a deplorable economic situation that has led our people into captivity and embracing political opportunism without respite. The ghost of poverty must be exorcized and dignity of every person, be respected even during electioneering. The spirit of materialism is evil. Families and friends go for each other’s throat during election and would do every dirty trick in the book to win the election. We have recently witnessed funny miracles where candidates with low figures are declared winners. The deciding factor is not the peoples will but how close the candidate either is to the power barons or how much they are ready to contribute to the sacred coffer of egoism. Today, we are not short of innovative programs.

Synod Plaza

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In order to live to the realism of our gospel, our major undertaking in this endeavour will be the completion of the Synod Plaza. We want to thank all Christians and well wishers who have so far not given up to the reality of this economic project as the nerve center of our economic activity as a church. We want to thank our predecessor Bishop Johannes for spearheading the course of this project under very tough conditions. Our appeal to you is to get prepared for our next invitation to raise funds to complete the project within the shortest and most convenient time possible. As our guests during this occasion, we humbly request you to journey with us as we mobilize funds for the Plaza. For those who had contributed even one coin, we want to assure you that it had a positive mark.

 

3. Return to our Moral values

This is our agenda number three. Allow us to restate that we can go along way as a diocese if we espouse values that are progressive. These values of integrity are often taken for granted. Our dear brothers and sisters. We must shun the culture of getting rich quick. This culture encourages corrupt practices and destroys our rich heritage of sharing together. Beloved brothers and sisters, my conviction is that there is enough for all, but the reality is that some of us today think that we can eat two plates of Ugali. We can’t. Let us develop an attitude of sharing with those who don’t have.

 

Countering corrupt practices, must start with us as a church. Indeed, we cannot just point figures at the National and County Governments when our house is not in order. At the basic level, we shall ensure that all parishes and congregations appoint men and women of proven integrity and commitment to their PCCs and the forth coming synod. Funds collected should be accounted for and those who steal church money will be apprehended. We want to encourage a culture of financial humility and seek to live within our means. Out living must be modest and reflect our faith. We intend to enforce the culture of honesty wherever my powers lie as your bishop to the extent that every Christian will have to give an account of his time, and responsibility he/she is given. To our county and national leaderships, we want to urge you to address corruption and impunity that is reigning in our land today. Expose those who are involved in malpractices and punish them.

 

4. Capacity Development of our Clergy and Laity

Clergy development will remain key in our agenda. From our experience as an educationist, we shall expose our clergy to innovative ways of ministry. These will include enabling them to be lawyers, doctors, administrators, teachers, community counselors, artists, musicians and others. Years when clergy development were focused on being posted in a parish are now gone. All clergy should be ready and willing to work even in government offices. When we give them opportunities for training, we don’t necessarily tie our hands to offer employment. Today, we have a majority of our priests and laity who do so much with very little experience and training. It is our priority to ensure that we capacity build and equip our clergy and laity for ministry. Institutions like CORAT Africa, Bishop Okullu Theological College will remain relevant to us in meeting our objectives. We shall endeavour to make chaplaincy services institutionalized in all our institutions of learning through collaborative effort with respective managements.

 

We also want to invest institutional capacity of our laity as a whole in governance structure, policies and systems strengthening. Our Parishes will remain centres of action and the laity will need constant exposure to new and creative ideas. To attain this objective we shall invest in ensuring that our leaders are trained in good corporate governance, which is deeply rooted in Scripture. The younger women and mothers in our midst, rest assured that you will not be left behind at all. You are the backbone of our communities and we shall do our best to build your capacity to support yourselves and family. Part of clergy development will involve coaching support, targeting our younger clergy who still struggle with basic understanding of ministry realities. We shall ensure that the senior citizens in our midst are used to participate in coaching and mentoring others into leadership. We however wish to caution that all this should take cognizance of the fact that transformative change must enable us to embrace new ideas some of which will come from your youth. Lets us accept and build them up for ministry.

5. Stewardship for sustainability

Beyond the Synod Project, we would like to encourage Parishes to cultivate the culture of giving to enable us come up with programs that will sustain our Ministry. To this end, we laud the efforts of CCK in encouraging investment culture within our Dioceses. We shall cooperate with them to ensure that we benefit from their professional guidance. In closing allow me to tell a story of a visiting preacher who was really getting the congregation moving. Near the end of his sermon he said this church has really got to walk – to which someone in the back yelled, “let her walk preacher” The preacher then said if this church is going to go it’s got to get up and run to which someone again yelled with gusto, “let her run preacher.” Feeling the surge of the church, the preacher then said with even louder gusto, “if this church is going to go it’s got to really fly” and once again with ever greater gusto, someone yelled, “let her fly preacher, let her fly.” Yes the church needs to walk, run and fly. But the question is how do we make it do it? What strategy do we put in place? We must be ready to give our resources. Stewardship is not limited to giving, but it is enriched with a sense of spirituality, a social responsibility, and a political will. It is the entire management and sustainability of what the Lord has given us for his service.

 

Glory be to God in the Highest.

Amen.

[1] © WCC General Assembly 2006

[2] © National Economic Survey 2017