A controversial leader of the Presbyterians has opened a can of worms following his recent resignation from the church.
The Reverend David Githii — formerly the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa — has claimed he is quitting as a clergyman because homosexuality and devil worship are allegedly rife in the church.
In a shocking revelation that has already sparked a response from the PCEA top brass, Githii has blasted the church over ‘evil symbols’ and alleged association with gays and lesbians in its congregations.
“I (have) noted with great concern the rapid recruitment going in the PCEA on the homosexuality and devil worshiping. I raised a motion to this effect in the General Assembly (of PCEA church) of 2012 and pleaded with the church to form a commission to investigate the penetration of devil worship,” he told The Nairobian.
But in a carefully-weighed response, the current leader of the church — referred to as moderator in PCEA — the Reverend David Gathanju has denied the claims, reading displeasure on the part of Githii who unsuccessfully ran for the Kiambu governor’s seat in last year’s general election.
Reverend Gathanju said that Githii still belongs to the church — which has four million members in Eastern Africa — since his resignation has not been discussed and approved by the leadership.
PCEA, he said, will continue to hold Githii in high esteem.
“We look upon Githii as the father of PCEA church. He can say all those things about us but we will not sue him but if you (The Nairobian) taint the church, we will sue you,” Gathanju told this writer.
Reverend Gathanju added: “Unless he submits his resignation to his Kajiado Presbytery, our constitution is clear that you don’t resign or retire as you wish. The church leadership has invited him for a meeting on April 3 to discuss this matter and we may decline his resignation.”
Symbols of devil worship
The moderator is the head of the church and oversees its presbyteries (church units) in East Africa, including the ones in Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Githii, who has been a church minister for more than 30 years, was the church’s moderator between 2003 and 2009.
He resigned unceremoniously as moderator in 2009 after wrangles with the church’s leadership over his unyielding stance on issues such as alleged symbols of devil worship in PCEA.
The 67-year-old reverend told The Nairobian he will not be committed to any church for the moment.
Lately, Githii has been opposed to the crosses in Sigona PCEA Church in Kiambu.
He has claimed the symbols represent ‘the spirit of death’.
In 2004, he successfully spearheaded the removal of controversial symbols associated with devil idolatry from PCEA’s St Andrews Church in the city.
In 2010, he was suspended for a year from Sigona church and taken to court for leading a campaign against the symbols.
Reverend Githii spoke to The Nairobian for the first time about alleged infiltration of gays and lesbians to the PCEA church.
He claimed homosexuality is fast mushrooming in the Kenyan church because of the PCEA’s close partnership with the parent church in the US.
The American Presbyterian church has over the years been open to homosexuals. In fact, in 2011 the church approved a proposal for openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.
The said pastor was expelled
The Reverend Githii said his appeal for change has been ignored by the church’s leadership for a long time, a claim Rev Gathanju denied.
“We are familiar with his allegations. Even the world is aware through his website but we have tried to invite him to come and lay it bare but he has refused. The only case (of homosexuality) the church leadership is aware of is that of 1990s and the said pastor was expelled.”
In 1998 the first PCEA pastor was defrocked over homosexuality and six more were reportedly expelled between 2003 and 2009.
Githii said it was during his tenure as moderator that the six pastors were banished over homosexuality.
The reverend alleged that the pastor expelled in 1998 told the church: “You have expelled me, what are you to do with all the other pastors who practice the same as we are many?”
Githii claims the assertion was confirmed by the six expelled later.
He further cited a case in March 2009 when a gospel artiste was invited by PCEA pastors for a music show in Nyandarua.
Githii claims the musician was incensed when he caught two pastors kissing.
“I told him (musician) to call one of the pastors who was there and put the phone on speaker. I advised him to let him know that he found that group’s fellowship wonderful because of the sexually-related friendship they and that he needed to be recruited,” he said.
The pastor, he claims, responded that their motive was to recruit the musician and that they had been reaching out to all classes of worshippers in PCEA including those in the Women Guild — ministry group in the church.
“I did introduce this pastor in person to the incoming office (Gathanju’s team) because it happened when I was almost leaving office but this pastor is currently manning a parish,” Githii claimed.
“In the course of my leadership as the moderator of the General Assembly, a number of pastors shared with me how some had approached them with an attempt to recruit them but many did not want to come out for fear of being discriminated against”
Gathanju however denied seeing the gay pastor. “Githii should have taken action when he was in office. Why is he coming out now? Fighting the church through media?” he posed.
The former moderator further questioned the mysterious tragedies that have hit the church, mostly accidents involving members of the PCEA congregation. “In the recent past, the PCEA has suffered several mysterious attacks in many faculties of its life. My discernment tells me that these teething problems are neither by coincidence nor by accident. It has some spiritual implication with a divine connection,” Githii claimed.
Rev Gathanju however dismissed the claims. Githii has maintained he will stay away from the church.