BREAKING: Christ Chapel UMC in Kenya Becomes Second African Reconciling United Methodist Church

Members of Christ Church UMC standing in front of the church building and waving

Reconciling Ministries Network
201 W. Lake St., Suite 109
Chicago, IL 60606

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

February 9, 2021

Christ Chapel UMC in Kenya Becomes Second African Reconciling United Methodist Church

Oyani Congregation Votes to Affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network

CHICAGO – Christ Chapel United Methodist Church (UMC) in Oyani, Kenya, became the second African Reconciling Church to join the global Reconciling movement for LGBTQ justice and inclusion in The UMC by affiliating with Reconciling Ministries Network. 

Says Christ Chapel UMC’s Rev. Benedict Odhiambo: “We are an open-mind, open-heart and open-doors church willing to share the love of Christ with all without discrimination. And this is in line with what the scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:18 – and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Christ Chapel UMC’s decision comes about two years after Moheto First United Methodist Church became the first African Reconciling United Methodist Church. Both churches are located in the southwestern municipality of Migori.

Reconciling Ministries Network Executive Director Jan Lawrence says: “Christ Chapel UMC has taken an important step for the visibility of the Reconciling movement in Kenya. At Reconciling Ministries Network, we are thrilled that they have chosen such public witness for the empowerment and encouragement of LGBTQ people everywhere and especially in Kenya.”

The following is the text of Christ Chapel UMC’s welcoming statement. All Reconciling Churches and Communities must adopt a welcoming statement:

We, the Christ Chapel United Methodist Church – Oyani, declare ourselves a Reconciling Church within The United Methodist Church in Kenya. We believe all people are recipients of God’s love and grace, and that God intends the church to be a community that embodies love, grace, and justice for all people. As a sign of faithfulness to God’s covenant with all humankind, we believe that God intends for us, as part of the Christian community, to celebrate diversity and to welcome and accept all people as members of the household of faith. As an expression of Christ’s inclusive love, we affirm the wholeness of all people, and we hope to bring reconciliation to all people within our congregation and community. 

We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.

We welcome and affirm people of all tribes to worship at Christ Chapel United Methodist Church – Oyani and to be a part of our church family.

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Living into its shared baptismal covenant, Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. RMN  envisions  a  renewed  and  vibrant  Wesleyan  movement  that  is  biblically  and  theologically  centered.  As  committed  disciples  of Jesus  Christ,  RMN  strives  to  transform  the  world  by  living  out  the  Gospel’s  teachings  of  grace,  love,  justice,  and  inclusion  for  all  of  God’s  children.

For more information, contact:

Ophelia Hu Kinney, Director of Communications
Reconciling Ministries Network
Email: ophelia@rmnetwork.org

14 comments

  1. Congratulations Rev. Benedict welcome to the reconciling family Open mind , Open heart and open Door ,love ,

  2. Christ reconciled all, I mean all back to him… Who are we to see ourselves better than others… And gave us a ministry of reconciliation….
    ..
    Glory to Jesus…
    . Gideon Owuor member Christ Church oyani

  3. Welcome Christ Church, UMC to the Reconciling Ministries Network of congregations! We are so very happy to have you join us as we welcome all of God’s children into a loving fellowship. Our church became a welcoming congregation seven years ago and we now welcome and celebrate your presence!

  4. Thank God for Opening our inner hearts so that we may continue knowing the power of His grace through Christ Jesus.Ihope G.u.m.c,Grace united methodist churh is soon becoming the third reconciling church in Africa

  5. in our one stoplight rural county in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia there are 16,000 people and more than 70 congregations, many
    of which condemn LGBT people to hell. I am so grateful for the beautiful example of Christ Church OYANI! You may know that racial, sexual orientation and gender identity based murders have dramatically increased in the United States in the last few years. You all are my spiritual heroes. I look forward to hearing and seeing more about your programs and your community outreach.

  6. Glory to Jesus! Christ Jesus was made sin and sin killed him on our behalf so that we do not taste death but dwell eternally.He took the sin of The world upon himself….we are free indeed! We have been entrusted with the reconciliation ministry! Thanks all…

  7. The people of Willow Glen UMC in San Jose, California send greetings and congratulations to the congregation of Christ Chapel UMC, Olani, Kenya on becoming a Reconciling Congregation! May the light and love of Christ continue to guide you as you follow the path of reconciliation.
    Blessings,
    Bill English
    Jan Leonard
    Co-chairs of the Reconciling Ministries Committee at WGUMC

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