A church in Ngoingwa estate in Thika has embarked on rehabilitation of perennial alcoholics and drug addicts through embracing them in churches to offer them spiritual support to enable them to come out of the vice.
Bishop Julius Kamau of ACK St Stephens Church has dedicated his Sundays to preach to the group some who come to the place of worship fully drunk on the need to quit the behavior and focus their lives on becoming responsible members of the society.
It all started two years ago during the burial of one of the alcoholics that he presided over, whom he said could have made a positive change to many had he focused on building his life away from alcohol.
“After the burial, I held a lengthy conversation with the group and realized they needed mentorship to get out of the wayward behavior. That made me set my Sundays to be offering them spiritual support on the need to focus on things that can better their lives,” he said.
He has more than 50 congregants in many Sundays, some who have been rehabilitated and are slowly helping the rest to get out of alcohol.
The bishop said though it has not been a smooth journey, the initiative has been impactful to the group as it has improved on their presentation and perception of life.
There is no time dedicated for offering and tithing during the church session, though Bishop Kamau prides himself in changing the lives and helping the alcohol lovers become responsible.
“They are now neat and tidy; others are slowly getting out of the alcohol and drugs life, being respectful. Such initiatives have also helped in reducing crime rates and having stable families,” he said.
Applauding their behavior while in church, the Bishop called on churches to come up with such empowerment and rehabilitation programmes to help those affected by alcoholism and crime.
He said it would save those perceived to be immoral in the society from social stigma that may lead to depression. “Though some attend church while completely drunk, the group most of the time keep each other in check to ensure they all attend sermons every Sunday.
The alcoholics led by Jacob Macharia said they are happy for being embraced by the church society and were slowly getting their lives back on a positive track.
He said in most cases, they are victimized for their physical appearance or regarded as criminals, saying alcoholism is a disease that leads to depression and frustrations.
They appealed to churches and other institutions to consider giving them casual jobs without discrimination so as to feed their families.
By Muoki Charles