Archbishop Eliud Wabukala was on Sunday enthroned as the fifth leader of the Anglican Church in Kenya.
During a service that lasted about five hours, he took over the mantle of leadership of the second largest church in the country from Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi who has who has retired at the age of 65.
The elaborate ceremony was held at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. Archbishop Nzimbi handed over the tools of the church — the cross, which is a sign of authority, a constitution, canons and other laws of the church.
The procession began at 10am and approached the west doors of the church. They were locked and the Archbishop had to shout for them to be opened: “Open for me the gates of righteousness, I will enter them and give thanks to the Lord.”
He struck the doors three times with a staff, and as the doors opened, a fanfare of trumpets was sounded. This was followed by drumming. The archbishop was then welcomed to the church. There was singing and reading of the scripture as his procession moved towards the altar.
Rev Peter Tasker, a bishop from Sydney, Australia, guided Archbishop Wabukala in prayers as he knelt before the altar.
There was a light moment when Archbishop Wabukala pledged to retire at midnight on June 26, 2016.
Church, business and political leaders travelled from all corners of the world to witness this occasion.
President Kibaki, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Cabinet ministers, MPs and other senior government officials attended the ceremony, too.
Characterised by regular sitting and standing periods, the crowd diligently followed the proceedings.
The Catholic Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Methodist and the Presbyterian churches sent messages of congratulation to the new leader.
Bishop Peter Akinola from Nigeria, who was the day’s speaker, criticised African leaders, accusing them of “double-speak”. He also rebuked the leaders, saying they had not expressed commitment in the fight against corruption.
“Politicians say what they don’t do and never mean it,” he said.
When President Kibaki rose to speak, he asked Christians to shun living a lie.
“If you are a Christian, be committed to what you are taught in the church.” He asked the church to strengthen its bond with the government and promote development.
In his inaugural speech, Archbishop Wabukala said his tenure would be characterised by a push for reforms.
“The church shall continue to play an advocacy role in developmental issues.”