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Government to block 'unlawful' churches in Western Kenya

NYANZA
By Rushdie Oudia | January 22nd 2015

KISUMU: The Government is set to develop a system of registration to check on mushrooming of religious organisations in western Kenya.

Nyanza Regional Co-ordinator Francis Mutie expressed concern about the increase in the number of churches in every estate in Kisumu.

"Some are as small as kiosks dotting estates in Kisumu, with many lacking registration," he said.

Mutie was speaking in Kisumu Wednesday during the official opening of the first annual theological conference organised by the Lake Basin Region Centre for Theology.

He said the State was keen on regulating registration of churches, claiming some organisations were not fulfilling religious ideals.

"We are in the process of working on a watertight programme that will make it difficult for some churches not meeting laid out structures to be registered," he said.

He said accepting every application was what had led to the establishment of cults in Kenya, adding they would partner with religious leaders in coming up with the guidelines.

Mutie admitted they had faced resistance from concerned churches, but insisted there must be order in how the word of God is delivered.

"We will carry out continuous checks on churches to ensure Kenyans get the real Biblical dose," he reiterated.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS

He also called on the clergy and Christian Religious Education teachers to go for theological training to boost leadership skills.

The two-day event held at the Tom Mboya Labour College brought together more than 200 participants drawn from the Eastern Africa region.

Institution director Jack Amiruka urged religious leaders to enrol for training to be empowered.

"Religious leaders will be the biggest beneficiaries of this centre as they will build their capacities on religious issues and social leadership," said Prof Amiruka.

He said the centre will jointly with the Government come up with laws based on research that could act as guidelines to churches.

"When religious leaders are well trained, they will keep off from forming churches for profit-making and instead instil the right ideals in the congregation," said Amiruka.

Bishop Winnie Owiti of Voice of Salvation and Healing Church said there was need for a paradigm shift in the way churches are run.

"We cannot continue doing the work of God the way we have been doing for the past many years," she said.

Former Nyanza Provincial Commissioner Peter Raburu challenged religious leaders from western Kenya to take their work seriously.

"It has reached a point where men of God must go back to school, so that when they speak they do so with authority," he said.

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