Pastor Ezekiel's brother runs Kisii branch of his New Life Church

Gillack Odero: Ezekiel's brother leading Kisii church

The younger brother of controversial preacher Ezekiel Odero of the New Life Church and Prayer Centre is running a branch of the church in Kisii County in what appears to be a family business in evangelism. 

Mr Gillack Odero, the fourth-born in the Odero family, is the head pastor of the New Life Church that is growing exponentially in Bonchari Constituency, with followers from the neighbouring Homa Bay and Migori counties also flocking to its Sunday services.

Pastor Ezekiel, the founder of the New Life Church and Prayer Centre, is facing a legal battle stemming from the activities of the church based in Kilifi County. 

This comes after Preacher Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International church, also in Kilifi County, was arrested for urging his followers to fast to death so that they could meet Jesus.

So far, 240 bodies have been exhumed from Mackenzie’s vast land in Shakahola village, while dozens of his followers have been rescued alive from the forest around his home where they have been fasting. 

Pastor Ezekiel was arrested in connection to the deaths of dozens of his congregants at his megachurch, which draws thousands of people from across the country.

He is also being investigated for his links to Mackenzie.

Established a year and a half ago, the Kisii church is located in Itibo-Rianyabaro, near Suneka town.

Built of iron sheets and wood, the church sits on a plot of land that measures about 40 metres by 60 metres and can hold hundreds of worshippers.

Security

The church is manned by eagle-eyed security guards who, upon spotting a visitor, immediately come over to ask how they can help.
Inside the church, there are many plastic chairs and a modern sound system, which is so powerful that the preaching reverberates around the neighbourhood.

“We serve the living God and this far He has brought us, we give Him glory and honour," Pastor Gillack said on Sunday when the Nation team visited his church.

The church in Kisii, according to Pastor Gillack, is a branch of the main New Life Church in Mavueni, Kilifi County, where Pastor Ezekiel preaches.

At the entrance is a banner showing the order of worship, with portraits of the two preaching brothers.

Like Pastor Ezekiel, Gillack wears a white robe and carries a large black Bible from which he reads the scriptures.

When we visited the church on Sunday, Gillack welcomed us with open arms and told us that very soon, the New Life Church in Rianyabaro would be moving to a larger property.

He hinted that they will build a bigger church which will shock many. He likened the new church to the famous temple in the Bible that Jesus said He would tear down and rebuild in three days.

In what appeared to be a swipe at the government for the hardships his elder brother is going through, Pastor Gillack wondered what people would say when he finally comes up with the bigger church in Kisii.

“What will they say? We have nothing to hide, and as you can see, I have welcomed you into my church. We serve the true God and ours is not the God of violence. He has brought my brother and me this far," said Pastor Gillack.

As he began his sermon, shortly after we followed him from his office, Pastor Gillack announced our presence to the congregation as he stood at the altar.

“We are privileged to have visitors from the Nation Media Group. They have come to see what we are doing. We have nothing to hide and we are very good people," the vibrant pastor said as his followers burst into thunderous applause.

Spiritual father

Pastor Gillack sees his brother not just as a sibling, but as his spiritual father, who he says has been very supportive in his upbringing.

He denied that his brother had helped him set up the Rianyabaro church. 

Pastor Gillack said he had worked hard on his own to get where he is.

"My brother Ezekiel was very excited when I told him I was going to Kisii to start my New Life Church. He gave me the blessing and I came here to start from scratch. Everything we do is because God loves us. I do some farming and some people here and there support us online when they are touched by our preaching," he added.

Commenting on the troubles around his brother, Pastor Gillack likened his case to the kind of tribulations Jesus went through when he was on Earth.

However, he exuded confidence that they would triumph.

He also revealed that he had also been affected when the court froze the bank accounts of the New Life Church, explaining that he was also a signatory to the accounts.

Investigators looking into the activities of the church in Kilifi had applied for the court to freeze its accounts, and the order was granted for 15 days, which came to an end on Monday, meaning the church can now access the accounts.

"My brother and I have come a long way and we have seen His hand. Only those who have seen what we have gone through to get to where we are can understand what I am saying," said Pastor Gillack.

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