Nomiya Church renews circumcision drive in Nyanza

A nurse circumcises a boy at Kagoto Primary School in Bahati, Nakuru. A church in Nyanza is advocating for more of the exercise in the region. [File, Standard]

A church headquartered in Nyanza has renewed the quest to promote circumcision and is challenging others to adopt it as practiced in the bible.

According to Nomiya church, the exercise is vital in reduces cases of sexually transmitted diseases as well as marking a crucial step in exercising faith.

Arch-Bishop Moses Okech told The Standard that past researches have shown that the activity has had a massive impact on members of the church.

“Circumcision helps in reducing cases of HIV. Other churches have been silently doing it and we believe it is a good initiative,” said Okech.

For the past 100 years, Nomiya Church (Luo word for I was given) has been circumcising its newborn baby boys despite protests by Luo culture custodians who believe male circumcision is alien tradition.

Long before campaigns for Voluntary Male Circumcision started, a good number of members of the Luo community have been silently undergoing the cut, courtesy of Nomiya Church.

In keeping up with the Old Testament traditions, the church has been circumcising new born boys. In the beginning, pioneer church ministers met strong resistance from the local culture custodians who said the male cut was a foreign ritual.

But the church stood its ground and circumcised thousands of new born boys, until the traditionalists gave up the mission to stop them. Other denominations criticised them but they soldiered on.

In their church, the exercise is done to male infants, eight days after birth.

He said they are engaging experts, most of whom are church members to help them with the exercise.

Last weekend, the church celebrated the anniversary of its founder Johana Owalo who died in the 1920’s in an event that was attended by hundreds.

The Arch-Bishop urged Kenyans to embrace circumcision as part of the efforts to help reduce the prevalence of HIV.

“Even though we are doing it for religious purposes, people should embrace it to help with the fight to reduce HIV infections,” said Okech.

His comments come at a time when other bodies including NGOs and government entities have been conducting circumcision drives in various parts of the country.