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Clergy supports regulation of religious organizations

A cleric has expressed support for the government’s move to tame people masquerading as men of the cloth to radicalise gullible worshippers, as recently witnessed in Shakahola.

The cleric was commenting on the formation of a presidential taskforce in May headed by Rev. Mutava Musyimi to look into the legal and regulatory frameworks governing religious organisations.

Austrian-born Evangelist Johannes Amritzer, who has been based in Kilgoris for more than 30 years, termed the Shakahola massacre a disaster for Christians who feel ashamed of the sectarian messages being preached.

“It’s a shame for the body of Christ that you can tell someone to fast and starve themselves to death to meet Jesus. That’s a disaster, and it is a blemish on all of us that call ourselves Christians,” said Evangelist Amritzer.

He added that it is regrettable that some people purporting to be preachers twist the message from the Bible for their own benefit. “False prophets will be denounced by Jesus,” he warned.

On the government plan to close private children’s homes, Mombasa Pastor Fellowship Chairman Zechariah Mwagandi says investigations should be carried out to ensure that only orphanages contravening the law are closed instead of blanket condemnation.

Gospel musicians Julia Willkander (L) and Eko Dydda (R) perform during the media briefing. Photo by Haniel Mengistu

“Some of the houses have educated many children; they have assisted with food and other needs. I don’t think it’s a good idea for the government to close them,” said Mwagandi.

He said they support the government’s move to regulate churches and urged preachers to be well-grounded in theology.

Evangelist Amritzer and a team of 200 people from 20 different countries and 1800 local volunteers have pitched tents in Mombasa VOK grounds for four days from October 4th to October 8th in a festival dubbed the ‘Explosion of Joy festival’.

The festival will bolster the economy of the coastal city, as thousands were expected to attend. It is expected that a whopping Sh30 million would be spent and pumped into the Mombasa economy from transportation and accommodation for the festival.

There will be daily street outreaches with dancing, drama, and nightly festivals. Gospel musicians Boaz Danken, Julia Willkander, Miriam Lukindo, and Eko Dydda will be performing during the festival nights.

Alongside the festival, Evangelist Amritzer says eye clinics will be conducted to distribute glasses to those in need and supply reusable hygiene kits for girls.

The reusable sanitary towels will ensure the retention of girls forced to be out of school for several weeks in a term while on their menses.

Youths will minister in prisons and on the streets for those bound in addiction to drugs and alcohol.

“They also will go and visit schools and orphanages. There are a lot of donations that have been made from all over the world. We are very happy to bless the community with that. There is ongoing cooperation with local churches in Mombasa,” says Evangelist Amritzer.

An entrepreneurship seminar will be conducted for people who want to get into business to be self-sufficient, and an interfaith dinner will be hosted, bringing together leaders of all faiths for meals and fellowship.

“We will prepare them practically and spiritually on how to start a new business with the skills each person currently possesses,” he said.

Evangelist Amritzer says his childhood was full of rebellion and rejection. He was orphaned at six years old. He founded SOS 30 years ago and has travelled throughout the jungles and villages, preaching.

By Sadik Hassan

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