A team of 15 from St Paul’s Parish in Lisburn spent more than two weeks in Kajiado Diocese in Kenya helping to complete the building of a church which the parish had part funded.
The parish had raised £15,000 towards the cost of a new church in a developing part of the Diocese, and the team was in Kajiado from June 16 until July 3.
The Rev Canon James Carson, rector of St Paul’s, has submitted this report:
The travel situation has improved within the Diocese with new tarmac roads; however the church site is four hours drive from Kajiado town and the Diocesan centre. The Diocese has a large site at Imberikani; the new church is the first of a series of new buildings that are planned to develop accommodation and education facilities.
The team stayed at Oltiasika in the Chulo Hills which was a further hour’s drive each day, there and back. The Church was officially opened on Friday June 29 by the Bishop, The Rt Rev Gaddiel Lenini and The Rev Canon Jim Carson who preached at the service.
When the team arrived at Imberikani the first day on their way through to Oltiasika the task was daunting as the church inside and out needed to be painted and twenty benches also had to be made. St Paul’s Lisburn has by tradition a strong work ethic so the team ‘got stuck in’ and within eight days the church was ready, painted, floor cleaned and benches made.
This team worked exceptionally hard so the task could be completed on time. St Paul’s parish also provided the furniture for the new church, pulpit, communion table and chairs in memory of family and friends from our parish. The cross on the church and name plaque was made from wood from old pews in St Paul’s Church in Lisburn.
The church is not just about a building in itself or just about St Paul’s own contribution, the church is about people and partnership.
The team also led three seminars, one for the clergy of the local Archdeaconry, one for the area Mothers Union and then one for Diocesan Lay–readers in Oloitokitok, as it is important to support the leaders and people who will use the church.
It is also about partnership, this project would not have been possible otherwise. The was built as a result of partnership and a growing relationship between Kajiado Diocese, St Paul’s Lisburn and the Church Mission Society Ireland.
On the church in Imberikani there are two plaques, one either side of the door, each has a separate text which is worthy of note. Psalm 127:1 ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.’ And Philippians 1:4/5 ‘…I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…’
Imberikani is an area of outstanding natural beauty but harsh semi–desert where the local people compete with wild animals and the shortage of water.
It was a privilege for the team to have been there and through our small efforts God will build his church through his people who are there and also in Ireland.