By Lucas Mboya
Nairobi, Kenya (9 December 1998): On Tuesday, 8 December, I received a phone call from a friend, Eric Aduda, telling me that a current member of the Nairobi Christian Church came to him (Eric) saying he (the member) had great news -- Evangelist Richard Alawaye was being moved out of Kenya to South Africa.
He told Eric that an announcement had been made the previous Thursday during the midweek service to the effect that Richard was leaving to South Africa. Nobody seems to know whether this is a temporary or permanent arrangement, but he will stay there for at least two years. He will be leading a super region (probably in Johannesburg) while his replacement, Harvey Flaurent, the former lead Evangelist in Abijan (ICOC), Cote d' Ivore, has already arrived in Nairobi.
Richard maintains that he is still a Geographical sector leader, albeit without portfolio. (He told the church that on Sunday 6 December). He also said he expected some former members would, in his absence, now wish to return. He said that those of them who "spoilt" the church's name through the press would have to apologize first. He is scheduled to leave on Saturday, 12 December.
Needless to say, there were sighs of relief being breathed both inside the church and among former members. A lot of them feel that Richard, more than anyone else, was the source of much discord in the Church. Case in point:
A few months ago the church administrator fell victim to Richard's ways when he apparently told him off. Basically what I'm reliably told happened was that during the Church Olympics (September or October 1998) there was a tug of war!
Richard's team was pitted against the Church administrator's team (Peter Mukundi). Richard meanwhile was watching. After his team lost he disqualified the other team, saying that two of their members were too big (Macdec and Theora) and thus the contest had been unfair. I'm told that a couple of other people told him off, but he settled for dealing with Peter.
One thing led to another and Peter was accused of being divisive. Richard told Mike Taliaferro in South Africa and the two of them were summoned there. On their return Peter was given an ultimatum -- resign or you will be sacked. He resigned. I'm told that to those who ask him what happened he says that he resigned because he felt the job was not challenging enough for him. Peter is still in the Church. (Though I'm pretty sure about the gist of this I may have incorrect details. I could not verify any of this because Peter is not to fond of me and would not be interested in telling me whether it was true or not -- treat is as hearsay). Basically a tug of war led to the dismissal of a church administrator. If that's not petty, I don't know what petty is!
I think that Richard's transfer is a demotion -- from geographical sector leader to super region leader -- but I'm sure they would say otherwise. From what I know, the performance of the Nairobi Church since late 1996 has been poor. In addition, the Church plantings in East Africa are nothing to write home about. In a recent ICOC magazine edition published earlier this year, they focused on Africa, yet there was not a word about anything in East Africa, of which Nairobi is the pillar church. Must mean something.
In some ways I feel sorry for the chap because I know that he sought advice from Mike Taliaferro for most, if not all, the actions he took in 1996-1997 with regard to dealing with those perceived to be anti-establishment. Yet apparently it was the wrong advice, because rather than the church improving, it got worse, and Richard seems to be paying the price for that!
The following is a letter that a couple of former member faxed to Richard on Wednesday 9 December. They did not receive a reply.
P O Box 42468
Lead Evangelist, Nairobi Christian Church.
We greet you in the name of the Lord It is awesome to note that God has used you powerfully in the movement, however it is regrettable that the TRUTH has finally come to pass. Love is the greatest issue that Christ dealt with in his time on Earth.
We had hoped that one day the Almighty God would prove to us who actually was wrong. It is plain that the problem in the Nairobi Christian Church was never with the so called REBELS. Time has shown that YOU, more than anyone else have always been the problem.
We love you and pray that wherever you go, you will learn to respect other people. Do not use your position to force fault on others nor mislead other leaders into passing judgement on brethren.
You started well but finished poorly, but, brother, we do not want to dwell on your mistakes because we too have ours.
The split of the Nairobi Christian Church was largely caused by yourself, your departure therefore will likely see alot of growth and maturity. We feel that the very thing we had asked of the top leadership is what has now occurred two years down the line.
Former members of the Nairobi Christian Church,
©1998 by Lucas Mboya <email@example.com>. All rights reserved.
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