Fed up with constant interruptions by politicians during funerals, the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Mumias Diocese has now decided that burials will no longer be held on weekends.
Mumias ACK Bishop Joseph Wandera has announced that henceforth, the diocese will not conduct mass, liturgy and burials on Saturdays and Sundays in all its 43 parishes.
The decision was reached following extensive consultations with the laity and clergy throughout the diocese.
This followed concerns of increased political interferences by political speeches during funerals.
Following the decision, the diocese will only conduct funeral rites for its members during weekdays.
“We recognise and appreciate our political leaders but we have been getting interference from politicians and funerals have been losing religious value as they are turned into political rallies. We shall continue recognising them but we shall not allow them take over our burial services,” Bishop Wandera said.
The bishop further said apart from political interference, weekend burials have clashed with the church’s other activities like fundraising, weddings, fellowships and baptism services.
“The synod meeting in Nambale, Busia County passed a ban that is necessary for a number of reasons, particularly the bloated activities taking place during weekends. Priests and pastors need time to attend to other functions like weddings, fellowships and even to prepare Sunday summons and rest,” said Bishop Wandera.
He instructed all catechists and Christians in his diocese not to make any arrangements for a funeral service on a Saturday or Sunday.
“No priest is allowed to preside over funerals on Saturday or Sunday. We want to make our burials better and dedicate the services to God just like any other church service and stop interruptions we have been experiencing in some events,” the bishop said.
Mumias ACK Diocese now joins other ACK dioceses in the country, including Mt Kenya, South Nyanza, Maseno North and Nambale which have banned weekend funeral ceremonies.
Following the new directive, faithful who lose their loved ones in the region will have to reorganise their burial schedules, including collection of bodies from the mortuary.
Most bereaved families collect bodies of their loved ones from mortuaries on Thursday and Friday to allow for a two-day overnight stay before burial.
The ban now means that those who remove their bodies from mortuaries on Fridays will have to bury them the following week.
On June 8, 2019 during the burial of Jesca Wamatsiin Mung’ang’a village in Mumias East, Bishop Wandera walked out of the funeral service after the programme was dominated by politicians.
ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, former Sports CS Rashid Echesa, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Lugari MP Ayub Savula attended the burial.
At the same time, the bishop says the church will minimize and regulate political speeches during burial events conducted weekdays.