Worshipers boycott service, demand return of ‘gay’ priest
An Anglican Church of Kenya congregation boycotted a service in Othaya on Sunday, demanding the return of a priest accused of homosexuality.
The excommunicated cleric blamed his woes on Mount Kenya West Diocese head Joseph Kagunda.
The service at St Andrew’s Kagongo church was disrupted when worshippers demanded the reinstatement of Archdeacon John Gachau.
They refused to enter the church and mocked the Rev Samuel Maina, the new priest.
They said the Rev Maina lacked leadership qualities. Only a handful were in the church, the majority preferring to sit outside in protest.
According to the protesters, Archdeacon Gachau was not given a chance to defend himself.
“We have not seen the young people the church says he molested. We won’t step into the church until Archdeacon Gachau is back,” said Mr Gerald Kinyua.
Some worshippers said they read mischief into the priest’s expulsion. They insisted that church elders had not been consulted.
“Gachau brought young people back to church. Church politics has a lot to do with the archdeacon’s problems,” said another worshipper, Nellius Wanjiku.
Less than 20 worshippers were in church with the Rev Maina. He attempted to talk to the group camping outside but was met with jeers. After the service, he locked himself in the vestry.
“The church constitution does not allow us to comment on such matters,” he said.
Police were called in when tensions threatened to boil over.
The Rev Gachau said the accusations against him and other priests were due to leadership wrangles.
PROBLEMS WITH BISHOP
“I have had problems with the bishop in the past. He thought I wanted to divide the diocese but we sorted the matter out. After a while, he stopped me from preaching,” he said.
Bishop Joseph Kagunda said he was not aware of the problem in Othaya and would comment once briefed.
However, he dismissed claims that he had a problem with priests who were later accused of homosexuality.
Bishop Kagunda said the church was fighting sins.