233 Records out of 22207 Records
Author: Nthamburi, Zablon John
Awarding University: School of Theology, Claremont, London, England
Level : PhD
The history of the establishment and spread of Christianity in Kenya has been narrated in a one-sided and incomplete way. This is understandable, since the sources available are books written by European missionaries concerning their work. These works have failed to portray adequately the contribution made by Africans, who often did not receive any remuneration for their effort. From the very beginning, Christian evangelism was done by African catechists and teachers. Since European missionaries were few and the areas they covered were large, it is not surprising to discover that in many places the continuing presence of witness to the gospel depended much more on the resident catechist or teacher than on the European missionary. This work attempts to show that the autonomous Methodist Church in Kenya owes its existence not only to the European missionaries, but to indigenous catechists, teachers, evangelists and ministers, whose zeal for evangelism made them become apostles among their own people. Although this work is primarily concerned with the history of the Methodist Church, it will, no doubt, shed some light on the contribution made by other christian bodies in Kenya. It will, perhaps, help us to see that many problems, failures as well as successes of the Methodist Church, are in fact no different from those that other churches have encountered. Since the basic problems of relevance of the christian message are similar in most churches in Kenya because of identical cultural heritage of the African people, solutions to the same basic problems will bear some resemblance. It is anticipated that this work will contribute, albeit in a modest way, to the general understanding of the foundations of Christianity in Kenya. The spirit of cooperation between protestant churches is shown in chapter eight, and it shows the churches' ongoing concern for unity and ecumenism pertaining to missionary endeavors. The beginnings of the Methodist Church in Kenya are traced to show how the church was planted in Kenya with the help of the British missionaries. Methodism was brought to Kenya by Thomas Wakefield, the pioneer missionary who landed in Mombasa in 1862. The traumatic experience of missionaries in their endeavour to extend their work to include the region of the Tana River is narrated in greater detail. It is not only a success story, but failures and setbacks are recounted as well. The heroic endeavour of the pioneers, both european and african, is given its due prominence. Penetration of the missionary endeavour into the interior of Kenya (Meru) at the beginning of the century was encouraged by events which were beyond missionaries' control. It was the attempt of both entrepreneurs and colonial administrators to control the interior for their own gain that prompted the missionaries to seize the opportunity to seek new areas of operation for church expansion. The inevitable consequence of such a step was the open conflict between the two cultures that ensued, culminating in the cultural nationalism of 1930's. Behind the facade of conflict was the successful attempt by the missionaries to evangelize a more receptive people, whose clamour for knowledge and medical care offered the missionaries a golden opportunity to make Christians out of them. A deliberate effort was made to draw out information from oral sources to supplement missionary records and official government sources. This was done by way of interviewing some of the people who have been involved with the ongoing life of the church. Considerable quantities of archival material, here in Kenya and in Great Britain, have helped me to narrate in a new way the story of the people called Methodists in Kenya.