ACK faithful reject priests in gay case - Daily Nation
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No respite yet for Anglican Church priests in gay case

Sunday July 15 2018

Anglican Church of Kenya

A section of Anglican Church of Kenya faithful at ACK parish in Othaya, Nyeri County were they held a demonstration against reinstatement of Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau on July 14, 2018. PHOTO | JOSEPH WANGUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH WANGUI
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Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) faithful in Othaya, Nyeri have rejected three priests a day after their court-ordered reinstatement and redeployment.

The three priests had been suspended over allegations of engaging in homosexuality three years ago but were exonerated by the court.

Scores of believers on Saturday blocked Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Reverend James Maina Maigua and Reverend Paul Mwangi Warui from accessing three churches and taking over leadership following their redeployment by Mt Kenya West Diocese Bishop Joseph Kagunda.

Mr Gachau was rejected at Kariki parish, Mr Warui at St. Stephens Thunguri parish while Mr Maigua faced hostility at Witima parish during the well-orchestrate demonstrations.

'TARNISHED CHURCH'

At Kariki parish Venerable Canon Edwin Mbiri was to hand over to Mr Gachau while Mr Warui was to take over from Reverend Harrison Wachanga.

At St. Peter’s ACK Witima, the churchgoers who were supposed to receive Mr Maigua turned against him after Reverend Joshua Kiiru who was serving in the church handed the keys to him.

Demonstrators waved placards inscribed with the words: “Maina must go.”

The faithful denied him access to the church and ordered him to leave immediately.

FORCED TO FLEE

Mr Maigua was forced to flee on a motorbike after angry believers threatened to attack him, claiming he had tarnished the church’s reputation by going to court.

The situation was the same at ACK Kariki parish where a section of believers rejected Mr Gachau.

"I had information that there was strategic plan to reject the three of us. I just came here for formality but I leave all in God's hands," Mr Gachau said.

He faulted the church followers for using demonstrations, saying a more decent and conclusive solution should be found.

"I will just go back to the Bishop and tell him I have been rejected and if he agrees he will deploy me to another parish. I believe one day the truth will come out and God will save us from this humiliation," said Mr Gachau.

At ACK Thunguri, a similar situation was witnessed where Reverend Harrison Wachanga handed over the church to Reverend Warui but he too faced hostility from the church followers.

On her part Venerable Canon Wangari Mwai, who is in charge of Irindi parish, said the church will make a collective decision after its leaders meet.

COURT ORDER

Bishop Kagunda had suspended the three priests over allegations of engaging in homosexuality three years ago.

The move to reinstate them was in compliance with a court order dated October 30, 2016 by Justice Byram Ongaya, which he had disobeyed.

Justice Ongaya quashed the suspension, after ruling the homosexuality allegations were false and ordered the Mr Kagunda to reinstate the clerics.

It was unconstitutional for the Church to suspend the three priests from pastoral work without evidence on allegations leveled against them, ruled the judge.

Bishop Kagunda issued the reinstatement letters a day after he was sentenced to civil jail for contempt of court by Justice Nzioki wa Makau of the Nyeri labour court.

The imprisonment was however lifted shortly after the bishop agreed to redeploy the priests