, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – President Mwai Kibaki has assured of the Government’s desire to deliver a Constitution that will bring together Kenyans as one people and lay a strong foundation for a democratic, stable and prosperous country in the future.
The President, at the same time, urged Kenyans to be tolerant with one another in the true ecumenical spirit and to promote religious harmony in the country.
Speaking on Sunday during the Lavington United Church’s golden jubilee at St Austin’s School grounds in Nairobi, President Kibaki said the Government has continued to listen to the voice of the church and other religious organizations and will respect and respond to constructive criticism.
“Beyond these engagements, and as the custodian of conscience, the Church has also continued to play a role in our national politics,” President Kibaki said.
Citing the issues that religious organizations have raised in regard to the proposed new constitution, the President reassured religious leaders that opportunities will be available in future to address the concerns.
President Kibaki, once again, reiterated his Government’s appreciation of the role that the church continues to play in the society.
In this regard, the Head of State affirmed the Government’s commitment to forge even stronger partnerships with religious bodies in building a prosperous, caring and God fearing nation.
The President commended the church and other faith-based organizations in the country for administering to the spiritual needs of Kenyans.
In this connection, President Kibaki called on Kenyans to uphold the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, saying this is the only way they will be able to overcome the challenges facing the nation
“Indeed, challenges such as HIV/AIDS, crime, drug abuse, violence and corruption are vices that we can avoid if we remain true to the teachings and Word of God,” President Kibaki said.
Besides the proclamation of the Gospel, the President noted that the church and other faith-based organizations have continued to play a remarkable role in addressing the social, economic and political challenges that face the country.
He, particularly, commended religious organizations for their contribution to national development through various activities including the construction of schools and healthcare centers, charity and other projects that promote social progress.
The President cited the example of the Lavington United Church which has been at the forefront in development activities and is renowned for its social services programme aimed at empowering needy members of the society.
Said the President: “I am informed that people who have gone through the Lavington United Church Social Services Programme now earn an honest living and have been able to educate their children, some up to university level.”
The Head of State also observed that the church’s Urafiki Children’s Education Programme is a demonstration of people who care for the needy in the society, adding that the healthcare programme at Gatina Medical Clinic is yet another milestone that other churches should emulate to assist the less advantaged in the society.
“The Government appreciates your efforts. This is why we recently posted a nurse to serve at this Clinic and we hope to give more support in due course,” the President said.
President Kibaki said he was also encouraged by the church’s efforts towards environmental conservation, saying it has led members of the church’s congregation to join in the reafforestation exercise at Ngong Forest recently.
“God gave us the environment and as his stewards, we are expected to look after it responsibly,” President Kibaki said.
He congratulated the Lavington United Church on the jubilee celebrations and acknowledged the church’s leadership for the Christian service it has continued to render to the congregants and to Kenyans in general over the last fifty years.
The President said it also was gratifying to note that while the church was initially mainly a preserve of the White community, today it has worshippers from over 23 denominations comprising of people of many nationalities and all walks of life.
President Kibaki, therefore, commended the Lavington United Church for being a role model church that emphasizes the unity of members of various Christian denominations.
“As we read in the Bible, the primary role of the Church is the proclamation of the gospel and the making of disciples. I note that the Lavington United Church and other Churches in the country have dutifully continued to undertake this calling,” the President said.
Delivering the sermon, the Ecumenical Envoy for All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia urged Kenyans to remain united even as they prepare for the referendum on the Proposed Constitution.
“Let us be clear that Kenya is bigger than the referendum and there is more that unites us than that which divides us,” Rev. Kobia said.
In this regard, Rev. Kobia said Kenyans have what it takes to settle any dispute peacefully and they should resolve that the country will never again experience any political violence.
He called on Kenyans to embrace peace during and after the referendum.
The service was conducted by Rev. Joel Rwamba of the Lavington United Church.
Other speakers included the Presiding Bishop of Methodist Church in Kenya, Rev. Dr. Stephen Kanyaru and P.C.E.A Moderator Rev. David Gathanju among others.