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Anglican Church of Kenya

Anglican Church of Kenya
File:Anglican Church of Kenya logo.gif
Primate The Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala
Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya
Territory Kenya
Members 4,500,000
Website Anglican Church of Kenya Official Website

The Anglican Church of Kenya is a province of the Anglican Communion, and it is composed by 33 dioceses. The current Primate and Archbishop of Kenya is the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala.

Official name

The Church became part of the Province of East Africa in 1960, but Kenya and Tanzania were divided into separate Provinces in 1970.[1]


The church was founded originally as the diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) in 1884, with James Hannington as the first bishop; however, Anglican missionary activity had been present in the area since 1844, when Dr. Johann Ludwig Krapf landed in Mombasa. The first Africans were ordained to the priesthood in 1885. In 1898, the diocese was split into two, with the new diocese of Mombasa governing Kenya and northern Tanzania (the other diocese later became the Church of Uganda); northern Tanzania was separated from the diocese in 1927. Mass conversions of Africans began as early as 1910. In 1955, the diocese's first African bishops, Festo Olang' and Obadiah Kariuki, were consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, in Uganda. In 1960, the province of East Africa, comprising Kenya and Tanzania, was formed with Leonard James Beecher as archbishop. The province was divided into two, with Festo Olang' being the first African archbishop of the new province of Kenya in 1970. Manasses Kuria was the Archbishop of Kenya from 1980 to 1994. The current archbishop is Eliud Wabukala, who is in office since 2009.

The Anglican Church of Kenya has been politically active throughout its history. As the official church of the colonial power, the Anglican missions enjoyed a privileged position, and Anglican preachers sharply denounced the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s. A number of Kikuyu loyalists who rejected Mau Mau were active church members.[2] When President Daniel arap Moi moved to consolidate his power by suppressing free speech and limiting political opposition, Anglican leaders spoke out in defense of civil rights. Bishop David Gitari famously denounced election controls in a 1987 sermon that received considerable criticism from Moi supporters, but other church leaders soon joined in Gitari's criticisms. In 1990, Bishops Henry Okullu and Alexander Muge criticized the state's investigation of the murder of moderate foreign minister Robert Ouko. Bishop Muge was killed in a suspicious automobile accident later in the year after receiving open threats from a government official. His death spurred Bishops Gitari, Okullu, and other Anglican leaders to take an even more active public role, vocally supporting the move to multi-party democracy.[3] Gitari became archbishop in 1995 and continued the church's active engagement around civil rights, using his position to promote constitutional changes such as term limits and fairer elections.


Today, there are at least 4,500,000 Anglicans out of an estimated population of 43,000,000, that form 10.6% of Kenyan's population.[4]


The Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of All Kenya. The See is fixed at Nairobi. He was previously styled "Archbishop of Kenya and Bishop of Nairobi", but the Diocese of Nairobi has now been divided into two. The Bishop of Nairobi has the geographically larger diocese, whilst there is a separate Diocese of All Saints, based around All Saints' Cathedral. The Primate's official title is now "Primate and Archbishop of All Kenya".[5] The current Archbishop is the fifth since the Province of East Africa was divided into the Provinces of Kenya and Tanzania.

  1. Festo Olang', 1970-1980
  2. Manasses Kuria, 1980-1994
  3. David Gitari, 1997-2002
  4. Benjamin Nzimbi, 2002-2009
  5. Eliud Wabukala, 2009–present


File:James Hannington1.jpg
James Hannington was the first bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa.
The polity of the Anglican Church of Kenya is Episcopal church governance, which is the same as other Anglican churches. That is, headed by bishops from the Greek word, "episcopos," which means overseer or superindendant. The church maintains a system of geographical parishes organized into dioceses. There are 33 of these, each headed by a bishop:
  • All Saints Cathedral
  • Bondo
  • Bungoma
  • Butere
  • Eldoret
  • Embu
  • Kajiado
  • Katakwa
  • Kericho
  • Kirinyaga
  • Kitale
  • Kitui
  • Machakos
  • Malindi (created 2015)
  • Marsabit (created 2011, Bishop Robert Martin)
  • Maseno North
  • Maseno South
  • Maseno West
  • Mbeere
  • Meru
  • Mombasa
  • Mount Kenya Central
  • Mount Kenya South
  • Mount Kenya West
  • Mumias
  • Murang'a South
  • Nairobi
  • Nakuru
  • Nambale
  • Nyahururu
  • Southern Nyanza
  • Taita-Taveta
  • Thika

Each diocese is divided into archdeaconries, each headed by a senior priest. The archdeaconries are further subdivided into parishes, headed by a parish priest. Parishes are subdivided into sub-parishes, headed by lay readers.

Worship and liturgy

The Anglican Church of Kenya, like all Anglican churches, embraces the three traditional Orders of ministry: deacon, priest, and bishop. A local variant of the Book of Common Prayer is used.

Doctrine and practice

The center of the Anglican Church of Kenya's teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church, or catechism, includes:

The threefold sources of authority in Anglicanism are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. This balance of scripture, tradition and reason is traced to the work of Richard Hooker, a sixteenth-century apologist. In Hooker's model, scripture is the primary means of arriving at doctrine and things stated plainly in scripture are accepted as true. Issues that are ambiguous are determined by tradition, which is checked by reason.[6]

Ecumenical relations

Like many other Anglican churches, the Anglican Church of Kenya is a member of the ecumenical World Council of Churches.[7] In October 2009, the Kenyan Church's leadership reacted to the Vatican's proposed creation of personal ordinariates for disaffected traditionalist Anglicans by saying that although he welcomed ecumenical dialogue and shared moral theology with the Catholic Church, the current GAFCON structures already meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of conservative Anglicans in Africa.[8]

Anglican realignment

The Anglican Church of Kenya is a member of the Global South (Anglican) and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. They broke with the Episcopal Church of the United States over the question of allowing blessing of same-sex unions and non-celibate gay clergy, and have supported the Anglican Church in North America as a new province in creation of the Anglican Communion.[9]

Global Anglican Future Conference

The second Global Anglican Future Conference was held at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi, from 21 October to 26 October 2013. The focus was the shared Anglican future, discussing the missionary theme, "Making Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ".[10]


  1. ^ "The Anglican Communion Official Website: - The Anglican Church of Kenya". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Renison Muthiri Githige, “The Mission State Relationship in Colonial Kenya: A Summary,” Journal of Religion in Africa, 1982, pp. 110-125
  3. ^ Galia Sabar-Friedman, “‘Politics’ and ‘Power’ in the Kenyan Public Discourse and Recent Events: The Church of the Province of Kenya (CPK),” Canadian Journal of African Studies, 1995, pp. 429-453
  4. ^ [D.Nkonge Kagema's PhD thesis, 2008, p. 62]
  5. ^ See Anglican Communion official directory listing here.
  6. ^ Anglican Listening Detail on how scripture, tradition, and reason work to "uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way".
  7. ^ World Council of Churches
  8. ^ Carlos Miranda. "The Catholic Evangelical". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "KENYA: Anglican Primate Recognizes ACNA in Resurrection Message - Virtueonline – The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Anglican Mainstream retrieved 18 October 2013

Further reading

  • Anglicanism, Neill, Stephen. Harmondsworth, 1965.

External links