The Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya team travelled to Naivasha, Kenya, on September 26, 2011 to facilitate a one-day workshop on “Dialogue on Human Sexuality and Faith: Unlocking the Truth” for 45 religious leaders drawn from diverse denominational backgrounds. Five United Methodist ministers from the local area attended. Their national leader, however, who was around the venue of the workshop, avoided the function.
Rev. Michael Kimindu, President of Other Sheep Afrika and Changing Attitude’s representative in Kenya, facilitated on human sexuality and the Bible. He said the biggest problem is the way religious leaders misinterpret the Bible, especially Bible-time traditions which have no relevance in modern times. Religious leaders should avoid literal interpretations of the Bible which can cause spiritual violence and suffering for LGBTI people in Kenya and the world. He told the religious leaders to follow the wonderful example of our Lord Jesus Christ who never condemned, rejected or hated anyone including his enemies.
Rev. John Makokha, Chief Executive Officer of Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya facilitated on the vision and mission of Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya and deconstructed the seven clobber passages of the Bible. He showed the religious leaders DVD clips on “Seven Passages: The stories of Gay Christians” and “Anyone and Everyone”. The objective of the showings was to give religious leaders an opportunity to see and hear moving stories from gay Christians and their parents on how the church/society has misunderstood them and continued to isolate and persecute them. He told the participants to read beyond the Bible, especially the Bill of Rights in the constitution of Kenya, psychology and research materials on issues of sexuality.
Akinyi Ocholla, Chair of Minority Women in Action and Trustee of Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya facilitated on the scientific aspect of sexual orientation. The religious leaders really struggled to reconcile the scientific aspect of sexual orientation and their old belief of homosexuality as an “abomination”.
Educational materials on human sexuality and science, deconstruction of the clobber passages, brochures and reflection on sexual mores of the Leviticus were distributed. The participants requested Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya to come up with a resource center so that they can enroll and study deeply on issues of human sexuality, faith and science.
This seminar was made possible by a grant from Foundation of Open Society Institute.