In an unprecedented move, the Anglican Church in Kenya on Sept. 10 expelled five priests for allegedly engaging in homosexual activity.
The priests, from the diocese of Mt. Kenya West in Central Kenya, were under investigation since mid-August. They were serving in the towns of Othaya, Karatina, Murang’a and Nyeri towns.
“That is the stand of the church … they have to be out of the ministry,” said the bishop under whom the priests served.
The five had earlier been suspended to allow a tribunal to probe the allegations made against them. Four of the priests are married while one is single. They are said to have had relations with other adult men for as long as 20 years.
The identity of the priests has so far not been made public.
“To address the question that many may have on the identity of the persons involved, we are compelled to conceal their identity … it is wrong in the church and in the entire public,” Bishop Joseph Kagunda said.
He announced the tribunal formed to investigate the conduct of the priests had established some of the accused had been having sexual relations with fellow priests and members of their congregations for a long time.
Kagunda said the church would withdraw the priests’ licenses but would not report the cases to the police, in spite of homosexuality being illegal in Kenya. He said it was up to the aggrieved parties to decide whether to report the cases to the police or not.
“What we have done in the church is to withdraw their licenses … .we cannot say whether it is temporary or not because they have the right to appeal,” Kagunda added.
Just last Sunday, the Mt. Kenya West diocese suspended another priest for allegedly practicing homosexuality. A tribunal will investigate the allegations made against him.
The priest served in several parishes in Mt Kenya diocese and was alleged to have enticed four young men into homosexuality. It is said the young men used to spend many nights at his house.
The priest is said to have requested the young men to visit him for spiritual guidance but he ended up seducing them and forcing them into homosexuality. He pleaded with the young men not to tell anyone.
The letter suspending the priest was read out to the congregation during Sunday service at St. Peters Cathedral in Nyeri. The victims reported the priest told them homosexuality is not a sin and they should not be ashamed of it.
The bishop said if the claims against that priest were found to be true, he would be discharged from his responsibilities in the church.
The issue of homosexuality among clergy is a thorny issue in the worldwide Anglican Church, and it has caused a schism between the churches in the West and those in Africa and the rest of the world. Some conservative Episcopal congregations in the United States have withdrawn from the U.S. denomination over its acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage. They put themselves under the African Anglican church’s authority because of its adherence to biblical teachings.
Mt. Kenya West diocese is one of the 34 dioceses of the Anglican Church of Kenya led by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, who also is the current chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), a fellowship of Anglicans who adhere to orthodox biblical teachings and uphold the inerrancy of Scripture.
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Photo courtesy: thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: September 14, 2015