AIC faithful pray under tree as church locked in row

Rangwe AIC members conduct yesterday’s service under a tree. [James Omoro, Standard]

Worshippers at Africa Inland Church (AIC) in Rangwe yesterday held their service under a tree after they were blocked from the church.

Church leaders said they found the gate locked when they arrived in the morning, and blamed the move on an ongoing land dispute.

Security guards denied them entry into the church, claiming they were acting on instruction from South Nyanza AIC council headed by Bishop Benard Ondiek.

The faithful, who were led by the pastor in charge of the branch Rev Samson Ageng’o, accused Bishop Ondiek of colluding with a missionary organisation to kick them out of the land.

“We have waited for more than five hours but nobody has opened the gate for us. That is why we decided to conduct our prayer service here,” said Ageng’o.

He said they were given the land by the national government. He said Ondiek has been piling pressure on them to vacate the land so he can hand it over to the missionary organisation.

Church elder Hezron Oyanda said they secured the two acres from the lands office for purposes of constructing the church.

He accused Bishop Ondiek’s office of denying them a chance for dialogue over the matter.

“It is sad the bishop has declined to dialogue with us. They only want us to talk in the presence of the police who are not party to this dispute,” Oyanda said.