Anglican worshippers want diocese divided

Some of the faithful from Mbeere South led by Lay Canon John Njiru (centre) and Pius Njiru of Mbita Parish (right) at Kiritiri ACK church where they addressed the press in their agitation for the split of ACK Diocese of Mbeere into two dioceses. They said Mbeere South was ready to have its own leadership. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

Two factions want the Anglican Church of Kenya's Mbeere Diocese split.

Members of the diocese, who have failed to agree on how it should be run, want the parish divided into Mbeere North and Mbeere South.

Mbeere was carved from the Embu Diocese 22 years ago. It has over the years grown from having 18 parishes to the current 64. The parishes control 239 churches.

The diocese has had two bishops: Reverend Gideon Ireri, who retired in 2009, and Reverend Moses Masamba, who is currently in charge.

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Discuss issues

Feuding worshipers, many of whom are top officials in the churches, claimed that the bishop could not properly oversee the many parishes.

The leaders demanding a Mbeere South diocese want the right to develop their own projects without having to depend on the north.

“The annual budget for the entire diocese is Sh30 million. Mbeere South pays Sh21 million. Mbeere North pays Sh9 million. Why then should all the development projects be concentrated in the north?” a worshiper asked. 

Bishop Masamba invited the worshipers to a consultative forum at the diocesan headquarters in Siakago town on Monday to discuss the issues.

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Instead of honouring the invite, those keen to have the split met at Kiritiri church.

At a press conference, they said they did not have to meet the bishop and instead would wait for an upcoming meeting by the synod, which would decide on the issue of the split.

“Even if we meet the bishop, we cannot discuss anything that will not lead to a split of the diocese," said Pius Njiru, the vice-chairman of Mbita Parish.

"We appeal to the bishop to make it fast and peaceful. In the meantime, we appeal to the parishes not to remit their quota to the diocese.”

Worshipers have also been calling for a review of church laws so that bishops' tenure is not unlimited.

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Term limit

“We want a term limit for bishops,” said Canon John Njiru of Mayori Parish.

Rev Masamba said he would issue a comprehensive statement on the issues raised by the faithful.

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Anglican Church of KenyaMbeere DioceseMbeere SouthEmbu DioceseReverend Gideon IreriMoses MasambaMayori Parish