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Church to partner with government to offer psycho-social support for schools

ACK Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit consecrating St. Peter’s Cathedral in Voi on Sunday during the official opening of the Church

The Church is partnering with the National Government to offer psycho-social support for learners in all public schools in the country after reopening in January as part of clergymen’s contribution to mitigate the adverse effects of Covid-19 on the education sector.
Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit noted that the prolonged stay from schools for millions of learners coupled with the general anxiety brought by the coronavirus pandemic were challenges that might weigh heavily on the minds of the learners once learning resumes.
He disclosed that the church would deploy clergymen and other religious officials to schools across the country to offer psychological, emotional and spiritual support for learners and teachers to help them cope with the new realities posed by Covid-19.
“The learners have stayed away from schools for long and when they open, there is need to offer them psycho-social support to ensure their learning progresses on well,” he said.
The Archbishop was addressing hundreds of congregants at ACK’s St. Peter Cathedral during the official opening of the church in an event that was attended by Deputy President William Ruto and several other local leaders.
The plan, which the prelate said was being finalized between the Church and Ministry of Education, is part of ACK’s overall strategic vision dubbed as Wholesome Ministry for a Wholesome Nation that runs from 2018 to 2028.
The partnership, under the pillar of wholesome education, will further see ACK distribute over four-million copies of educational materials to schools.
The Archbishop said the church was committed to providing a strong family base for the country and encouraged parents to give their children moral support they needed to grow and become responsible citizens.
He further warned that the current scandals involving teenagers including extensive drug use, sex parties and wanton drinking was a reflection of a generation that was crying out for guidance and help.
“These acts that our children are engaging in should make us, as parents reflect on what part we play to make in the lives of our young ones,” he said.
He further called for a need to observe covid-19 rules in places of worship as he expressed his concerns over the large number of congregants who were present to celebrate the historic event.
“Remember that even as we celebrate, Covid-19 is here with us but I hope and pray God will protect us,” he said.
Deputy President William Ruto said that the government was committing most of its budget into ensuring learnings institutions were made as safe as possible for learners. Stating that the county was not out of the woods as Covid-19 was still raging, he urged Kenyans not to let down their guards and continue adhering to health protocol laid down by the Ministry of Health.
He also noted that plans were underway to see that medical workers in the country were properly remunerated owing to the risk they faced when dealing with Covid-19.
“The government is committed to ensuring that the schools are made safe once they open in January to stem the spread of Covid-19. We should not relax at all because the pandemic is here with us,” he said.
The Deputy President largely avoided any politics and instead called for more cooperation and collaboration amongst leaders at all levels of governance.
Other leaders present during the event include Voi MP Jones Mlolwa, Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako, Taita-Taveta Senator Jones Mwaruma, Women Rep Lydia Haika and former governor John Mruttu. Governor Granton Samboja was represented by his deputy Majala Mlaghui.
Bishops from Malindi and Katakwa Diocese were also present.
The opening of St. Peter’s Cathedral marks a historic milestone for the ACK Church in the Coast region by being the first Cathedral to be built by Africans.
The Church project has taken nearly two decades to be completed with the first fund-raising being presided over by the late President Daniel Arap Moi in 2001. Former President Mwai KIbaki also presided over another fund-raising in 2011.
Deputy President William Ruto also attended another fundraising for the church in 2013. President Uhuru Kenyatta also fundraised for the church in 2015 as he did when he was Finance Minister during the grand-coalition government.
In total, over Sh 65 million have been raised for the project.
Bishop Liversen Mngo’da of Taita-Taveta Diocese termed the project as a miracle that would continue to serve humanity. He added that more needed to be done to ensure the church was completed and all pending works dealt with appropriately.
“This has been a long journey that we hope to complete by next year,” he said.
During the event, a Taita prayer book was also unveiled to be used by local churches during their liturgy.
By Wagema Mwangi

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