Blend of religion and traditions as priest is ordained, declared elder

Talai elders accord newly-installed priest Reverend Joakim Kipkurui traditional blessings. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

At only 28, Reverend Joakim Kipkurui has scaled the heights of his religious calling to undertake missionary work.

And only hours into his priestly ordination by Bishop Dominic Kimengich of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret, a group of Nandi elders accorded the newly-installed priest traditional blessings as he partakes in Christian responsibilities in the society.

Hundreds of congregants including political leaders witnessed the colourful ordination at Cheptarit Catholic Parish last weekend where the new priest committed to taking his Christian calling as the ceremony was being conducted under the Catholic Church traditions.

Rev Kipkurui, who is a last-born brother to the vocal Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherargei, was ordained to perform evangelical work under the Society of African Missions (in Latin Societas Missionum ad Afros-SMA) Kenya District.

SMA was founded in 1856, according to the catholic mission booklet, “aims at evangelisation of the most abandoned people in Africa and the formation of an indigenous clergy to care for the newly-established communities – thus enabling the missionaries to move on to evangelise others who were still in need”.

SMA has missions in five Dioceses in Kenya including the Archdiocese of Nairobi, the Dioceses of Ngong, Kitale, Lodwar, and Kakamega.

But it has not been a mean achievement, the youthful priest has achieved a fete following sheer hard work and commitment to his calling.

Reverend Joakim Kipkurui, 28, was ordained to perform evangelical work under the Society of African Missions Kenya District. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

In a classy integration of religion and African cultural heritage, a section of community elders saw the need to honour the priest in full Nandi leadership regalia complete with a leadership stick (sharit), gown (sambut), flywhisk (Kipkalyangit) and a traditional three-legged stool.

He was also gifted a lamb, a symbol of dignity and righteousness, as he reaches out to the unconverted and spreading the seeds of Christianity in the society. The traditional ceremony, performed by great Nandi legendary leader Koitaleel Samoei’s descendant from Kapsisywa’s Talai clan, was in honour of Rev Kipkurui’s hard work and commitment to reaching out to communities spreading the gospel.

It was performed at Rev Kipkurui’s Kapkeben village home at Mosoriot Township, where his Kapchebore family had invited guests for a Thanksgiving fête on Monday, two days after the ordination.

The traditional ceremony in honour of the priest’s spiritual calling was performed after a thanksgiving mass at the homestead.

David Sulo, a fourth-generation descendant of Koitaleel, Augustine Kisorio, and Catholic Church catechists Julius Melly and Simion Mwei, led in the traditional prayers.

“Rev Kipkurui is now a spiritual leader, and we are also blessing him as a leader because we will be undertaking various roles in his religious leadership including performing marital unions, blessing children, and offering guidance among others,” said Sulo.

Leaders that attended the vent included MPs Julius Ruto (Kesses), Prof Phylis Bartoo (Moiben), Caroline Ng’elechei (Elgeyo Marakwet women representative), Elgeyo Marakwet deputy governor Prof Grace Cheserek and Bomet speaker Cosmas Korir.