Worshipers walk out on Methodist bishops in Kilifi

An empty Ribe Thomas Methodist Church after worshipers walked out in protest. The church has vowed to remain autonomous. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]
The split within the Methodist Church of Kenya escalated yesterday with members staging a walk out to protest the presence of two bishops.

Methodist Church in Kenya secretary, Bishop Michael Simba and Bishop Peter Karisa had visited Ribe Thomas Methodist Church.

But when Bishop Simba rose to the pulpit to deliver his sermon, the worshipers walked out.

“We walked out of the church and held prayers out of the church to protest against the presence of the two bishops,” said John Bajila Barisa.

The worshipers insisted that they did not recognise the two bishops following a split which took place last month.

“We do not recognise them following what transpired on January 27 this year when we parted ways with the mother church,” said Barisa.

During the church service under a tree in the compound, the church members said they decided to walk out on the two bishops because they did not want to engage in violence.

“We wanted peace and that is why we left the bishops in the church and conducted our service under a tree,” said Alfred Ndoro.

They said they were angered by the deployment of private security guards in the church’s compound .

“Why should they bring private security guards to the church which all along has always been protected by God?” said Ndoro.

Other members claimed the two bishops had refused to recognise that there was a problem in the church that needed to be resolved.

The coast branch of the church has severed its links with the mother church in Meru.

The splinter group has declared that it has taken over schools and land under the church’s name in the  region and stopped remitting weekly collection to Meru.

It is accusing the mother church of discriminating the region and denying it resources.

Left alone in an empty church, Bishop Simba and Bishop Karisa later drove to a nearby funeral service of a retired church preacher where they found Bishop Wellington Sanga, who is perceived to be the leader of the splinter group.

Bishop Sanga has declared that Coast Region Methodist Church Conference will not back down in its decision to severe links with the mother church. 

The three bishops shared a podium at the funeral where Sanga again declared that the coast region would not go back on its decision to become autonomous.

Bishop Simba called on church leaders to maintain peace among their followers.

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Methodist Church of KenyaRibe Thomas Methodist ChurchBishop Michael SimbaBishop Peter Karisa