More than 20,000 needy pastors countrywide have benefited from a food and cash donations project launched by the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) in late April.
Speaking to the SHEPHERD by phone on August 12, Bishop Peter Njao, who heads EAK Nairobi County, said the number included over 4,000 pastors under his leadership. Another 8,000 poor households in the city consisting of the elderly, orphans, the sick and pregnant women have also benefited from the donations.
“The project has run smoothly since it was launched on April 23. It ended on August 3, when the last group of pastors received the food aid that remained,” said Njao. “We have also paid rent for a good number of ministers, some of whom had already been evicted from their houses or received eviction notices. We also helped others get alternative accommodation.”
He said although churches had been partially re-opened for in-person gatherings, EAK still needed food and cash contributions. A meeting has been planned for next week to chart a way forward, he added.
“Some pastors were evicted from their church premises for failing to pay rent while others opted to close down to avoid accruing rent. That, in addition to the current hard economic times, means we shall continue helping where we can,” said Njao, who is also the senior pastor of Joy Miracle Centre in Umoja Innercore Estate, Nairobi. He added that most of the needy pastors in the capital were from slum areas.
He was however upbeat that the revised church worship guidelines by the Inter-faith Council would ease the burden of helping needy pastors.
“I’m happy with the council’s announcements on increasing worship time and number of congregants per service as well as the relaxation on age restrictions. This will help most churches that are able to gather to take care of their shepherds,” he said.
At a press briefing in Nairobi on August 11, council chairman Anthony Muheria announced that the worship time had been increased from one hour to 90 minutes and the age limit for those permitted to gather for fellowship expanded to between six and 65 years. Initially, children below 13 and adults older than 58 were barred from in-person gatherings.
The limit on the number of worshippers per service will be determined by the space available and observance of the 1.5 metres social distancing rule.