More than 600 people have been killed and 750,000 made homeless by political and tribal conflicts following December’s elections. One church was firebombed killing dozens, and mission centres have been invaded by mobs.
‘The question before us now is, will the violence cause damage for generations to come or can the church speak boldly, sensitively and across tribal and political affiliations?’ says Tim Wambunya, founder and International Director of AICMAR (African Institute of Contemporary Mission and Research).
AICMAR, situated near Kisumu – an area which has suffered greatly in the upheavals, is an inter-denominational organisation that exists to advance biblical scholarship, promote biblical preaching and apply biblical truths to contemporary African issues.
Now Tim is hoping that AICMAR will be able to train and resource gospel teachers in communities torn apart by violence and death. He says, ‘Our founding conviction is that when the Bible is faithfully taught, God himself speaks and is heard; and that will continue to be our motivation for a ministry that by grace will heal the tribes and nations in Africa.
‘The recent violence has revealed that even church buildings have lost their traditional role as a place of sanctuary and Christian people must now stand together as a fellowship of sanctuary in these troubled times.
‘Whilst there are a large number of Christians in Kenya, the lack of resources for theological training has meant that church leaders have been unable to wrestle with contemporary issues such as poverty, corruption and tribalism and, to a certain extent, we are now reaping what we have sown’.
Having spent the last 20 years in the UK Tim has returned to Kenya as principal of Carlisle College in Nairobi, but, as staff and students have been victims of the troubles, teaching is unlikely to begin this term.
With Kenya experiencing the worst violence for generations, he says, ‘People are extremely traumatised. Some of our students have been kidnapped for over 10 days, others forced to pay for protection, and some have witnessed close friends hacked to death…
‘We would ask for your prayers for those affected by violence and those who have been violent, and for Christians working in Kenya to unite and preach reconciliation in Christ’s name so that the whole of East Africa can benefit’.
More information: [email protected] or AICMAR, 14 The Fairway, Kirk Ella, HU10 7SB