The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), an umbrella of protestant churches and other Christian organizations in Kenya, last week held a 3 day long conference to celebrate 100 years of its existence since its establishment in 1913.This comes at a time when the church struggles to come to terms with all manner of accusations being leveled against it from faking miracles to using the word of God to extort the flock among many other accusations. While some of the accusations might be true, it’s also important to acknowledge some of the positive attributes of the church, it’s important to consider the role that the church has played in shaping the wellbeing of this country since the period before independence to date. Kenya’s history cannot be told without mentioning the church. In the 80s and 90s the church played a huge role in the clamor for multi-party democracy from single party democracy widening the democratic space where today the business of politics is no longer a monopolistic affair but a situation where Kenyans have a wide pool of choices to select from. The church was in the forefront in the push for constitutional reforms through the famous Ufungamano initiative in the early 2000 resulting in the formation of a people’s commission mandated to collect views of Kenyans on the desired constitution. The church has also been heavily involved in shaping the education system of this country through establishment of schools including the famous Alliance High School and institutions of vocational training to respond to demand for skills among Kenya’s young population. Mission hospitals and other health care facilities in the country are a product of the church.
In this backdrop, even as the nation gears up to celebrate her 50 years of independence from the colonial masters, it will also be fair for Kenyans to accord the church the respect it deserves considering the immense contribution the institution has made to this nation albeit the few flaws here and there.