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Anglicans yet to agree over new archbishops

Thursday August 18 2005

By NATION Reporter

The Anglican Church of Kenya is yet to reach a consensus on the number of archbishops to be appointed in a proposed new structure.

Yesterday, Bungoma bishop Eliud Wabukhala said the number would be decided by all the members.

"They will do so through the synod and committees," said the bishop, who is also the chairman of National Council of Churches of Kenya.

The synod is the church's top decision-making organ.

Speaking to the Nation on telephone, Bishop Wabukhala denied Press reports attributed to him that the church could have up to five archbishops and one primate in two years if the changes proposed by a church committee were adopted.

He said: "It is the synod, the church's highest organ, that will decide."

The cleric would also not comment on the reported plan to appoint more bishops, instead referring the Nation to the provincial secretary who could not, however, be reached by telephone.

Bishop Wabukhala said the constitution would be followed in appointing the new archbishops if the proposals were implemented.

The church currently has one archbishop in Kenya. 

Bishop Wabukhala said the planned changes were a result of "natural growth" by the church, the second largest in the country, after the Catholic Church.

"The idea has been on for long," he said. 

The Bungoma bishop chaired a five-man committee that outlined several reforms, including reorganisation of 29 dioceses into larger regional archdioceses. 

To reconnect with communities with only loose ties to the church, new bishops are to be sent to areas where the church’s influence has been weakened.

Reports indicate that plans for the coming years include the appointment of two new bishops for missionary work.

The areas for missionary focus will be parts of North Eastern and Eastern provinces, where local dioceses, in more remote areas, are struggling to serve members. 

On the national Constitution, Bishop Wabukhala said the NCCK was waiting for the Draft being finalised by attorney-general Amos Wako "before we decide whether or not to participate in the referendum".

He cautioned: "We should not judge the Draft before it comes out. When it comes, we shall read it through before deciding our next move."