"We don't recognize new entity," Nairobi SDA church tells new conference

Central SDA Maxwell Church. [File, Standard]
Two factions of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church have differed over the creation of the Nairobi Metropolitan Conference (NCC).

Just a few weeks after the NCC was registered, the Central Kenya Conference (CKC) has disowned the group terming it an illegal outfit that is not recognised by the mainstream SDA church.  

What started as leadership wrangles at the Nairobi Central SDA church is threatening to divide the church, especially the city faithful.

According to CKC, the SDA church in Kenya is divided into two administrative units – the East Kenya Union Conference based in Nairobi and the West Kenya Union Conference that is based in Kisumu.

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The East Kenya Union is further divided into four conferences and two fields while the West Kenya union has five conferences and one field.

“The Nairobi Metropolitan Conference is not one of the Adventist organisations either in East Kenya Union Conference or West Kenya Union Conference. It has not been processed through the official Adventist channels – the local conference, local union, the divisional and or General Conference,” CKC President Pastor John Kiragu Ngunyi said in a communique to all pastors and elders of the SDA church in Nairobi.

But in a rejoinder, Elder Sammy Masara, who chairs an interim caretaker committee, said although the NCC has not been established under the current Adventist administrative units in the country, the new outfit comes with Adventist doctrines.

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“NCC has been established in accordance with Adventist statutes, doctrines and the laws of Kenya. The leadership of NCC and its members are baptised members of the SDA church in good standing and all confess the fundamental beliefs of the SDA church,” wrote Mr Masara.

The NCC leader announced that the team was planning a major gospel rally to be held next weekend to further explain the mission of the group.

“NCC takes this opportunity to invite SDA members in Nairobi, Kajiado and beyond to a great gospel rally scheduled for 27th, 2019 in Nairobi. The venue of the rally will be communicated to all of us shortly. We also invite SDA gospel ministers and choirs to come and bless the people of God at the rally,” Masara’s communiqué dated April 19 reads.

It is not clear if the wrangles are linked to a decision by the Adventist University of Africa (AUA) to lock out non-students and non-staff members from Advent Hill University Church (AHUC) in Ongata Rongai.

The AUA administration directed that the AHUC be relocated to another place outside the institution compound with April 13, 2019, being the last day the church was hosted at the university halls.

The AHUC was created as a full-fledged church under CKC in February 2016 with Alex Ambuchi, who is the chaplain of the AUA, becoming the pastor of the new church. 

Shares the compound

AUA shares the compound (otherwise informally known as Advent Hill) with the East-Central Africa Division (ECD), which owns the bigger part of the land, Maxwell Academy and Advent Hill Primary School.

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Africa office, also operates from the compound. Additionally, the compound is the seat of 11 unions representing the church in Africa.

Attempts by a team led by elder Justus Nyang’aya to postpone the date of moving failed as the university administration stuck to its ground, with church members now being advised to transfer to other churches within Nairobi.

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SDA churchNairobi Metropolitan ConferenceCentral Kenya ConferenceLeadership wrangles