On Sunday, September 1, 2019, Moheto First United Methodist Church became the first African Reconciling Church and the first Reconciling United Methodist Church outside of the United States. It joins over 1,100 other churches around the connection in upholding the mission of the Reconciling Ministries Network: to equip and mobilize United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Rev. Kennedy Mwita of Moheto FUMC affirms that “as a church, we are convinced and convicted that the love of God is much greater than what human beings can imagine,” and that Moheto FUMC became a Reconciling Church after “a long journey of discernment and prayers.”
Rev. Mwita cites this as a critical moment for Moheto FUMC to affiliate with the Reconciling movement: “I personally would not stand to see our church being a tool of oppression to the children of God. We have voted not to obey the Book of Discipline on matters that separate us but to observe the three simple rules: do no harm, do good, and stay in relationship with our God. I know as a church we have taken a step which may make some clergy in Moheto FUMC face charges and be discontinued, but I am prepared and I will not turn back.”
Rev. Mwita has served Moheto FUMC since 1998. Moheto FUMC’s journey toward full inclusion began in 2012 when the mother of an intersex child sought refuge at the church. She had been abused by her husband and sent away for having given birth to a baby considered “a curse to the family.” Rev. Mwita and the church welcomed her with open arms. “This became my eye opener and the church’s to know that God’s creation is diverse.”
Moheto FUMC then began a series of studies on human sexuality. Rev. Mwita gives thanks for Bishop Joseph Tolton, Bishop Yvette Flunder, and Rev. Dr. Grace Imathiu for their mentorship and for facilitating theological trainings and discussions on human sexuality “at a time when no one else in Kenya Ethiopia Annual Conference could give an ear.”
Moheto FUMC has started a medical clinic in Moheto that will soon be open to all regardless of tribe, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. They are further engaged in evangelical outreach to schools, and they distribute menstrual products to school children. They are involved in ministry with the LGBTQI church in Nairobi and hope to further inclusive discussions around human sexuality to The United Methodist Church in Kenya and around Africa.
“Friends,” says Rev. Mwita of the importance of Moheto’s commitment, “My call to The UMC globally is that we stop all forms of discrimination. I believe with your continual prayers, moral support, discussions around human sexuality, and sharing God’s message of love, the Reconciling Ministries Network will enable us to share this good news to all.”
Moheto FUMC’s welcoming statement is below:
- We proclaim that all people are created in the image of God and affirm that each person, regardless of age, economic status, faith history, tribe, ethnicity, gender, mental or physical ability, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identification, is a beloved child of God and worthy of God’s love and grace.
- We support the full participation of all persons in every phase of church life.
- Through education and informal discussion, we will strive to better understand those who are different from ourselves to bring about a more accepting society.
- We recognize ourselves to be a Reconciling Congregation within The Kenya-Ethiopia Annual Conference and choose to officially associate ourselves with the Reconciling Ministries Network within the United Methodist Church.
- We see this network as a sign of hope and through this association offer our witness to other congregations within our denomination to foster the spirit of reconciliation and movement toward inclusiveness
Visit Moheto First UMC’s website here.
If you would like to send them a letter of encouragement, please address it to:
Moheto First United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 382 Suna 40400 Kenya