Wrangles in Methodist Church heighten 

Methodist leaders

Clergy and leaders from Methodist church Kaaga Synod during a press briefing at Mwanika on March 14, 2023. 

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

The wrangles in the Methodist Church in Kenya have escalated, with churches opposed to the leadership of the Rev Joseph Ntombura training their guns on clerics loyal to the embattled presiding bishop.

Several churches have announced severed ties with the Rev Ntombura's leadership and vowed to evict clergy who are in support of the church head.

Methodists opposed to the Rev Ntombura's leadership have accused him of illegally extending his stay in office after his 10-year term ended in August last year.

However, the Rev Ntombura argued that the church conference delegates extended his term by two years to enable him to complete his term as president of the Africa Methodist Council.

His reign at the Africa Methodist Council ended last week after a Ghanaian was elected to take over, renewing the push for the Rev Ntombura's exit.

The latest to sever ties with the church leadership are members of Kaaga Synod comprising 15 circuits (group of churches).

Addressing journalists on Tuesday, Kaaga leaders gave Synod bishop Nicholas Mutwiri, and other clergy aligned to the Rev Ntombura, a seven-day ultimatum to declare their position on the matter.

Last month, the Nkubu Synod distanced itself from the church head and has since withdrawn its financial support to the Methodist headquarters.

Methodist church

Methodist Church in Kenya faithful hold a poster with protest message during a press conference at Mwanika Church on March 14, 2023. 

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

"Following in the footsteps of fellow Methodists in Nkubu, we have on this 14th day of March delinked from Rev Ntombura's leadership. Rev Ntombura's continued stay in office after end of his term is not only illegal, but also abuse of the church office. We do not recognize the amended standing order and any clergy who supports him," Mr Joshua Murithi of Mpuri Methodist said in a statement.

He said the Kaaga Synod bishop should disown the Rev Ntombura within seven days or also face rejection from the faithful.

The Rev Chris Anampiu, who defied the Rev Ntombura's defrocking order, said they would soon raise a motion of no confidence against supporters of the embattled presiding bishop.

"After seven days, we will also cut ties with the Synod Bishop and his allies if he does not support our cause. We will withdraw financial support and will not attend any church service or meetings led by the Rev Mutwiri and his accomplices. There will be no salary or housing for clergy who do not support us," the Rev Anampiu said.

He said since the Rev Ntombura had used his leadership at the Africa Methodist Council to extend his term, he should now vacate immediately since he lost the seat.

"Rev Ntombura had said his term as president of Africa Methodist Council was to end in 2024. However, his term ended last week and his replacement elected. We demand that he vacates the Nairobi office immediately," the Mwanika Circuit minister said.

Mr Murithi added, "Rev Ntombura should resign and issue a public apology for his misdeeds at the helm of the Methodist Church."

This comes even as some churches started making real the threat to evict clergy who are in support of the Rev Ntombura's leadership.

In a letter seen by Nation, Katheri Circuit in Nkubu Synod ordered one of its ministers to leave the church house with immediate effect.

"The Nkubu Synod resolutions required non-compliant ministers to vacate circuit office and houses by February 16, 2023. The defiance is long overdue. Therefore, you are required to vacate and hand over the house keys to Kianthumbi church treasurer," the eviction letter reads in part.

Recently the Rev Ntombura accused his critics of jealousy and using lies to besmirch his name.

"We are at a point where they are rallying family, friends and clans to mobilise 2,000 people to come to Nairobi to remove me from office. Our church is under attack and we must pray," he said at Kunene Methodist Church recently.

He said those opposed to his leadership should keep off the church affairs since they had cut links with it.


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