Kenyan convention strengthens ties

Members learn and share about faith at first national gathering in eight years

Mennonite World Conference President Henk Stenvers, right, washes the feet of Kenya Mennonite Church elder Ole Koringo. — Mennonite World Conference Mennonite World Conference President Henk Stenvers, right, washes the feet of Kenya Mennonite Church elder Ole Koringo. — Mennonite World Conference

The 35,000-member Kenya Mennonite Church held its first national convention in eight years when 1,300 people gathered in August in Migori.

Participants learned about peace, justice, evangelism, discipleship, economic empowerment and family life during the five-day gathering. The convention closed with a footwashing ceremony and the Lord’s Supper.

An MWC delegation was present, including President Henk Stenvers of the Netherlands, Faith and Life Commission member Desalegn Abebe of Ethiopia, Mission Commission member Simon Okoth of Uganda and Bishop Nelson Kisare of Tanzania.

“It was a wonderful experience for KMC members to meet and interact with MWC officers and commission members,” said Bishop Samson Omondi, convention organizer and MWC Executive Committee member representing Africa. “Mennonites in Kenya could learn in depth the vision and mission of MWC and the close relationship between our church and MWC.”

For Stenvers, tent revival meetings were a highlight.

“There were people sharing testimonies, witnessing to each other,” he said. “There was dancing: young people, children, men and women, celebrating their faith. Even passersby and people in the community came and prayed with us.

“It was a deeply moving experience. This is a living church, with devoted and faithful people.”

Kenya Mennonite Church members and leaders hold a long-awaited national gathering in August in Migori, Kenya. — Henk Stenvers/MWC
Kenya Mennonite Church members and leaders hold a long-awaited national gathering in August in Migori, Kenya. — Henk Stenvers/MWC

Despite economic uncertainties, the church is growing spiritually.

Kenya relies on wheat from Ukraine. War has caused the price of food in Kenya to increase significantly, sometimes more than double, while wages are stagnant.

“I have enormous respect for the way they organized the convention, the time and thought invested in putting everything together despite economic and security challenges,” Stenvers said.

Omondi requested prayers for church members to find economic opportunities.

“We want to be a church that empowers our members and impacts our communities,” he said. “In the same way, we will pray for MWC, as we feel a part of this global body of Christ.”

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