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A Better World

Newsletter

The OAIC strives to link policy engagement


at the regional and international levels with
the day-to-day activities of people who are
working for a better world. The activities
of the church like in the example of Mafuta
Pole Church in West Pokot - Kenya, are
transforming agriculture hence increased
incomes at household levels. This is in line
with goal number one in the MDG framework
which is to reduce the number of people living

He who was seated


on the throne said, I
am making everything
new!....
Rev 21: 5 (NIV)
Holy Thursday
Ecumenical Service
Milestones in Livelihood

in hunger and poverty by half.


In this issue, we share with you the newness
experienced by the people of God, and the
milestones achieved in their different spheres
of life. Communities have found healing in
their farms and the harvest is bounty. We also
share with you the amazing story of Christ
Holy Church International - Nigeria, under
the able leadership of His Grace, The Most
Rev, (Dr.) Daniel Okoh. You will be thrilled
and challenged by the story of the Women at
Christ Holy Church International as narrated
by Rev. Phyllis Byrd.
The Program of Theology and Ministerial
Formation is equipping the farmer , the
fisherman, and the women in the market
place, with different types of tools.

Transformation Through
Theology
Special Feature
Christ Holy Church
International - Nigeria

Holy Thursday Ecumenical Service

By Rev. Phyllis Byrd

oly Thursday is an important day in the


Christian calendar. It marks the end of Lent
and the beginning of the three holy days that
leads us to the resurrection. It is the day that
Jesus offers himself as the sacrificial lamb. It
is the day that Jesus tells the 12 goodbye and
prophesies that one of them will betray him.
Holy Thursday reminds us that it is through
the broken body and the poured blood you
and I can enter into a union with Christ and
become one with each other.

In recognition of the significance of this


day, the Organization of African Instituted
Churches (OAIC) together with the All Africa
Conference of Churches (AACC), organized
an ecumenical Holy Thursday worship service.
Other ecumenical family members also joined
in the service. Canon Rosemary Mbogo,
chairperson of the NCCK, shared the Easter
message. Many of those who attended this
worship service affirmed our need to have a
once a year worship celebration.
The significance of this Holy Thursday took on
an additional meaning in Kenya as we woke
up to the horrific News of a terror attack
at Garissa University College where 148
students were killed. Many of the students
who died were members of the Student
Christian Union. It was their practice to gather
early morning for prayer. We experienced
brokenness as parents narrated how their
sons and daughters called home and said
goodbye before their lives were stuffed out.
Our hearts bleed as we listened to the mini
biographies of the 148 students: some were
first generation to attend University, for others
attending University took a great sacrifice
for families to get them through primary and
secondary school, others narrated how the
family and community pulled together their
resources so that they could attend University.
The 148 students transformed into names
and faces, we could relate to their story, there
became our sons and daughters. We all felt
the pain the lose of our young people and will
miss the contribution they would have made
in society. Hope seemed to have died on Holy
Thursday!

AACC chaplain inviting congregants to partake


the Holy Communion

Please continue to pray for:


The families of the students
who lost their lives, those who
are still waiting to locate their
loved ones. Finally, please
pray for the church that we
will remain focused and not
be drawn into bitterness and
revenge.
Rev. Phyllis Byrd

Transformation through theologyBreaking through the walls


By Ven. John Gichimu
African Independent Churches (AICs) break
through the walls being one dimensional
workers. Some churches feel that their leaders
should work only in the confines of the walls of
the church. Deaconess Beatrice Niyokwizera,
is a member of Elim Charismatic Church in
Bujumbura. She is also a trainee in Theological
Education by Extension (TEE). Deaconess
Niyokwizera is an example of breaking
through the walls of the church as she does
theology indoors as well as outdoors in the
marketplace. She is an entrepreneur who
sells cloths and bags at the Kamenge Market,
Bujumbura.

Deaconess Niyokwizera (Right) During a Training


of Trainers (TOT) session in TEE program.
ministry as they are also in pastoral and other
areas of ministry. The TEE class has trained
ordinary people who would not have been
able to take time off for theological training.
The TEE works around their schedule.

Her approach to ministry goes beyond


the walls of the church and our traditional
understanding of the priesthood.
When
Deaconess Niyokwizera sells her wares, she
is also ministering to the people she encounters
with in the market. Her training in TEE has
transformed her understanding of scriptures
and enhanced her ministry skills. Ministry
has now become one seamless fabric that
is done 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Deaconess Niyokwizera breaks through
the walls of the church and gives us a new
paradigm of what it means to serve God in the
marketplace. This has enabled her to support
herself in ministry as well as her family. The
TEE program is facilitated through the OAIC
Program of Theology and Ministerial Formation
(PTMF)

TEE opens up doors for AIC clergy and


members who have responded to Gods call
to ministry, and others who want to learn more
about Gods word while at the same time the
program develops leadership skills. The bible
becomes a tool of reflection on their every day
life and the world. The fisherman, the farmer,
the women in the marketplace all reflecting on
what the word of God means to them in their
every day life. These skills are incorporated
into the various professions of the trainees. TEE
equips ministers to better understand the Bible
as well as develop community leaders that see
the Bible as their guide in every day life. They
are able to break through the walls of where,
who and how theology is done in the world.

I am a farmer..., I am a fisherman, I am
an entrepreneur, I own my own business
These are the voices of the members of The
Holy Baptist Independent Church of Africa in
Tanzania. Pastor Joseph Ayo Naftali works
with a team of 10 TOTs in running classes
in rural Mwanza, Geita, Musoma and Shirati.
These trainees break through the walls of doing

These experiences are major achievements


for the PTMF program. It enhances the work
of the program when ordinary people like the
farmer, fisherman, businesswoman, come with
enormous resources and experiences which
are nurtured through the TEE program.

Special Feature
Celebration at Christ Holy Church
International-Nigeria
By Rev. Phyllis Byrd

ARNING!
You are traveling
where?... Nigeria?... Have you heard
about Ebola?... Are you not aware of the fact
that the country is about to go to the polls to
elect their next president; there is a likelihood
that violence can breakout anytime!... And if
you are still not convinced not to travel keep
in mind the kidnappings by Boko Haram....
This is the voice of alarm I received when I
told someone I was traveling to Nigeria.
However Iwas looking forward to be part
of the celebration at Christ Holy Church
International.

The story of how they acquired land was


a miracle and a blessing. My faith was
strengthened as I heard the story of how
the women of the church came together and
gave an equivalent of $2.60 over a period
of six year. Their sacrificial giving reminded
me of how little can become much when you
place it in the hands of God, just like the
story of the loaves and fishes in the bible. My
imagination began to run wild thinking of the
possibilities... Just imagine if all the AICs in
Africa committed themselves to combine their
efforts/resources to build a school, a hospital,
an office block, a youths training/recreation
centre in every country in Africa. Imagine the
impact we could have on society....

The three words I would use to describe the


events that took place over the long weekendVision, Miracle and Growth. The passage of
scripture in Habakkuk that says, Write the
vision and make it plan so that the herald may
run with it.... The actualization of the vision of
putting up a state of the art centre for women
by women was finally being dedicated and
opened after six years of building.

The dedication service ended on Sunday


morning when thousands of Christ Holy Church
International members filled the tents. They
came from all parts of Africa. The morning
worship done in a way that only Nigeria can
do. The melodic voices of the choir lead by

General Deaconess Mrs. Ngozi Okoh filled


the air. The dignified women were adorned
in their traditional cloth. My mind and eyes
were trying to soak in the beauty of the sea of
the colours. The Most Rev. Dr. Okoh preached
a message that blessed and challenged us.
After his sermon it was time for the offering.
I was waiting for the heavy cloud that comes
into some churches when it is time to give;
usually a heavy feeling as if somebody has
twisted your arm to give. The atmosphere was
filled with excitement. They were behaving as
if they had been waiting for this moment in
the service. The Bishops, along with a section
of church members left the church Are they
leaving...? Are they suffering from giving
fatigue...? Could they be sneaking out before
the service is over...? On the contrary, the
music started and the Bishops were leading the
congregation down the aisles in celebration. It
was as if their actions were saying Most Rev,
you have ministered to us with the Word of
God; choirs, you have blessed us with music;

poverty but through our resourcefulness.


The Women Center will provide a platform to
generate income in diverse ways to support
the center. They have a borehole on the
compound for the use in the center. At the
same time the centre will be a place for those
in pain to shed their tears, and find healing
and relief.
Warning! Dont travel to Nigeria. These
words of caution were correct but for different
reasons. I will give you the same caution,
Warning, dont go to Nigeria and please
dont attend a service at Christ Holy Church
International if you want to stay the same.
But if you want your life transformed, your
faith challenged, please visit. Growing up,
my spiritual father told us that we must catch
the vision. By attending the dedication of
the women centre, I can now understand. I
saw the unimaginable dream of building
a womens center in the midst of political,
economical and social despair transform into
a reality Like the early Christian church that
used the Phoenix as their symbol of renewal,
the womens center is a testimony of life that
can come from ashes of hopelessness to new
life

God has done so much


for us, it is our time
to respond to Gods
blessings.
orchestra, your music has touched deep cords
within our spirits, and now it is our turn to
respond The congregation and clergy
danced down the aisles from the back of the
tent to the front. They came with many gifts, of
fabric, pots, goats and monetary gifts. It is as
if their excitement of giving was saying: God
used us to make what was invisible six years
ago to become visible. We dance because as
AICs we dont have to apologize for being who
we are. We come to offer what we have not in

Women of Christ Holy Church International


dancing during the celebration,

Livelihoods Milestones

By Sylvia Njambi

Bags of assorted seeds weighing approximately 250kgs ready for distribution to farmers.

ajor strides in agriculture have been


made all in an effort to address food
security, poverty, hunger and nutrition.

engagement that is going on between the


farmers and policy makers. The MCA, Hon.
Johnson Losilian offered to give the community
maximum support in enhancing their
livelihood through agriculture. This move by
the government officials can be attributed to
the work of Farmer Resource Persons who are
enabling the small holder farmers to improve
their farming practices as well as bringing
their collective voice to policy makers

Farmers of Mafuta Pole

Mafuta Pole Church in West pokot is


facilitating a learning process in agriculture
where the people are largely pastrolists. The
community has identified demonstration farms
which are key points in the process of shared
learning around agriculture. These farms also
act as points for the multiplication of drought
resistant crops like millet and sorghum. Mafuta
Pole Church is among the churches which are
participating in the livelihoods program of
OAIC in Kenya.

This far we have come

We decide to embark on a journey in Tawa


and Ndithini. The farmers in these two areas
have been part of the livelihood process and
recording their journey thus far is important.
We had an opportunity to engage the
farmers in a meeting, The discussions were
similar for both communities with a lot of
similar practices and experiences. To begin
with, we seek to establish how the farmers go
about their activities as far as gaining new
knowledge is concerned.

The OAIC enabled the church to acquire


quality seeds which were handed over during
a community worship service that brought
together a huge number of people including
policy makers from the county government
of West Pokot. The Member of County
Assembly and the Minister for Agriculture
for Chepararia were present. The presence
of these policy makers in this ceremony that
focused on agriculture, is an indicator of the

Farmers have identified a particular household


farm which they use as a demo instruction
farm. Here, they gather for their weekly

sessions of learning and knowledge building.


Facilitated by the Farmer Resource Persons
(FRPs) they are taken through the motions of
productive farming.

The farmers of Ndithini have collectively


engaged the county government and the
Agricultural Extension Officers are beginning
to work with them more regularly. This is
because the devolved government structure
of the county is close to them and their
voice can easily be heard than in the former
administrative system.

Like in many other developing countries,


one of the main concerns of the farmers
of Ndithini and Tawa is the inadequacy of
Agricultural Extension services. This has been
a major issue for farmers as they have to find
alternative means for the technical services in
agriculture which are supposed to be delivered
by government. This problem is directly linked
to changes in policy in Africa which resulted
into the shrinking of Agricultural Extension
services. The farmers in their stories say the
problem is getting bigger because of the
withdrawal of several NGOs which were
filling the gaps left by government.

The future of small-scale farmers lies in their


ability to engage with the county and national
governments for their voice to be heard. This
will require collective effort from the church
and other agents of change.solidarity from
the church and other actors

Ndithini Farmers during a farmers meeting

Pictorial

John Amisi a Farmer Resource Person in Vihiga


sharing his experience during a feedback session.

50 graduate at Africa Divine Church, Vihiga

Farmers from Machakos engage in a focus group


discussion to share their journey in the Livelihoods
project

AIPCA Archdeacons following proceedings


during the ordinance of Holy Oil on Holy
Thursday at AIPCA Cathedral Bahati, Nairobi

Bread for the world visits Vihiga and West Pokot


farmers.

Sand dams in Makueni for preserving water

Junction of Riara/Kingara roads


P.O. Box 21736-00505, Nairobi
Tel: +254-20-2416446/ +254-728-606613
Email: communications@oaic.org
www.oaic.org