First Anglican church in Nairobi retraces spiritual steps from 100 years ago

St. Stephen's Cathedral along Jogoo Road.

Windows are glazed in steel casements embedded in pointed arch frames. Doors are made of heavy timber panels lashed with steel braces and hung in pointed arch frames.

The church's polished wooden pews provide a sitting capacity for over 1,000.

Imported organ

The church has a pipe organ which was sourced from South Africa. There is also a Bansall and Sons upright piano dating back to 1920 that has now been decommissioned. It is now part of the choir relic after the church purchased a small piano.

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However, the church has been fundraising for the purchase of a new church organ at a cost of Sh7 million.

Politicians such as Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Charles Rubia and Tom Mboya were members of the church at its inception.

The trade union movement was nurtured at the church, through Tom Mboya. To date, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) still holds its annual prayers, dubbed Cotu Day of Prayer, at the church on Labour Day eve. All the past presidents have visited the church in recognition of its historical significance.

Outstanding choir

The church also boasts of one of the most outstanding choirs in the country, which was founded by the late Professor George Senoga-Zake in 1956 - the St Stephen's Church choir.

When President Jomo Kenyatta died on August 22, 1978, it was St Stephen's Church Choir the state turned to for funeral music guidance. The choir also came in handy during the funeral of President Daniel Moi in February 2020 and Mwai Kibaki in April 2022.

ACK St Stephen's was elevated to the status of the Cathedral on September 1, 2002, by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Most Reverend Dr. David Gitari. President Daniel Moi and several religious leaders witnessed the consecration of Rev. Canon Peter Njoka at ACK St. Stephen's Cathedral after he was elected the first Bishop of the Nairobi diocese.

"Uhuru Highway was the dividing line between All Saints Cathedral and Nairobi Diocese," Bishop Emeritus Peter Njoka said.

First provost

Canon John Ndung'u Muriithi became the first Provost of the Cathedral.

On August 20, 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta led his family members and his Deputy, William Ruto, to mark the 39th-anniversary memorial service for his father and the country's founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, at St Stephen's Cathedral.

On January 26, 2020, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Justin Portal Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, visited St Stephen's Cathedral. He was accompanied by Most Rev Dr Jackson ole Sapit, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, and the Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, the bishop of the Nairobi diocese.

On April 16, 2023, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, led other opposition leaders to a church service at ACK St Stephen's Cathedral before going to Kamukunji grounds to rally Kenyans for countrywide anti-government protests.