Revd Michael Kimindu ejected from Nairobi clergy chapter meeting

The Revd Michael Kimindu, an Anglican priest who was a member of the LGBT team at the Lambeth Conference this year, was ejected from a meeting of the clergy chapter meeting in the diocese of All Saints Cathedral. The chapter meeting was held in the offices of the diocese at Karen on Wednesday 8th October 2008.

Michael is the Co-ordinator for Other Sheep Ministries East Africa. Other Sheep is an international ecumenical Christian organization founded in 1992 dedicated to empowering sexual minorities. http://www.othersheep.org/.

Michael was a key member of the Lambeth team, helping staff the Market Place stall and contributing to the African Day of Witness and Voices of Witness Africa seminars.

On Tuesday 7th October 2008, the day before the clergy chapter was due to meet, Michael sent a text message to the Administrative Secretary of the Diocese, copied to the Archbishop, the Most Rev. Benjamin M. Nzimbi, asking why he had not been invited. The Secretary replied that it was because he had been stopped from working in St Luke’s Parish, Nairobi. Michael insisted that he did not understand that to mean he was no longer a member of the chapter.

On Wednesday Michael arrived at Karen before most of the chapter. With his friend, the Rev.Katie Njagi, he ushered people to tea and coffee as they arrived. The meeting started an hour late because the Archbishop was delayed. Michael thinks the delay was God sent, giving time for people take sides psychologically and especially for the four Archdeacons who were present to strategise.

When the meeting opened, Michael’s presence was questioned. It was alleged that since he is openly pro same sex orientation which the Diocese opposes, he should not be allowed in the meeting.

The Archbishop gave a very tolerant defence, but the Archdeacons insisted that his presence was tantamount to a change of position for the Diocese on the matter. After some homophobic pleas from the four Archdeacons, the chapter adjourned briefly so that he could leave.

Before leaving he talked with the Archbishop who agreed to invite him on another date to provide an educational talk to the full house of clergy. One of the Archdeacons later sent a text message agreeing that the two of them would meet with the Archbishop.

Some clergy asked that what took place between Michael and the chapter be not minuted for fear that they would be accused of persecuting him but they were overruled. There was division in the meeting after his departure, with some clergy saying he should not be refused attendance to future chapter meetings.

The Revd Michael Kimindu

The Revd Michael Kimindu is an Anglican priest in Kenya who has been ministering to LGBT Christians in Kenya for several years, heterosexual himeslf.

He attended the Christian Theological Seminary of Indiana, USA (1993-1994) where he earned his Master of Sacred Theology (STM). While studying Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in the USA (1994), Rev. Kimindu became exposed to the issues and needs of LGBT people and was impressed with the tolerance that allowed one to study and ask questions without judgmental presuppositions against homosexuals.

In the years that followed after returning to Kenya, while ministering as a Chaplain in the Kenya Military, Rev. Kimindu wrote a paper entitled “Human Sexuality and the Military (Armed Forces in Kenya) with reference to Homosexuality” and shared it with leadership within the Armed Forces.

He began to speak out for the full inclusion of LGBT people within the Anglican Communion. His open advocacy created enemies at almost every level in the church and cost him any advancement and also a reduction in salary pay.

In July 2007, Michael heard from an Anglican friend that two individuals with Other Sheep Ministries were conducting discussion groups for LGBT people of faith in an apartment near the Ya Ya Centre, Nairobi. There he met Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz, the leaders, excited to find people of faith who shared his views on homosexuality.

Michael now opens his home for a weekly religious service for LGBT Christians, provides a meeting place for the Other Sheep East Africa board, and hosts monthly PFLAG meetings. Michael was at this attached to the congregation at St Luke’s Parish, Nairobi, on no stipend.

On December 18th 2007, Michael received an email from the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Benjamin M. Nzimbi. Michael was ordered to cease fulfilling his duties at St Luke’s pending a talk with the Archbishop about his involvement with Other Sheep.

When he eventually met the Archbishop, Benjamin Nzimbi listened to him for 15 minutes without interruption after which he told Michael that he understood him and agreed that he should continue in his Other Sheep ministry. However, he told Michael that he should meet the Archdeacons before the Archbishop could make a final decision.

In the interim, proceedings to defrock him were begun.

The meeting with the Archdeacons took place on 22nd September 2008 after much persistence from Michael. He reports that it was a very bad meeting because it was clear that the Archdeacons wanted to prove the Archbishop wrong in his judgement. They insisted that he should repent and ask for forgiveness from the Archbishop for being disobedient, which Michael could not accept. At the end they asked him to leave and wait for them to call him on another occasion.

Nothing further happened until Michael arrived to attend the Chapter meeting this week.

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