The Revd Michael Kimindu wears several hats! He is the Director of Other Sheep Africa and an MCC Minister as well as being an Anglican priest and the founder of Changing Attitude Kenya. Michael introduced me to Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa when I visited Kenya in March this year. Bishop Kalu was very welcoming and open in his desire to engage in positive ways in the Anglican Communion’s exploration of human sexuality.
It was a surprise to both Michael and myself to read a report published in Kenya in which the bishop was said to have made deeply homophobic comments in a sermon.
Michael phoned the bishop, and the outcome was the seminar held last Saturday, which Michael and Gideon report here:
The bishop, who appeared visibly disturbed, saddened and struck with grief on learning of the brutal death of Mr. Mjomba, stated that there was a need for human societies to live in love, care and harmony with one another without assigning indifferences. He termed the brutal killing of Mjomba a “heinous and cowardly” act and expressed the wish that someday soon LGBTI people will live in a free world without “violence and discrimination.”
“Praise God everyone! I want to begin by saying that your sexual orientation does not determine your spiritual orientation.” He went on to say, “I was born in Malindi and raised up in Ganze. My theological professor was a lesbian and my turning point was the Lambeth Conference in 1998. Resolution 1.10 gave room to listening to gay people. After the Conference I have continued to engage a lot in learning about LGBTI People. In 2010 I was invited, though without consultation to join a group of Anglican Bishops who are leading the Listening group.
This is a caucus (meeting) of Anglican Bishops taken from the most conservative countries and the most liberal countries. However, I confess that I am still learning. We have to preach the message of love regardless of one’s sexuality.
The sermon in reference to my having said that homosexuals are worse than Al-Shabaab was taken out of context. I was preaching from Eph: 6:10-18. “It was not me who said that gays are worse than terrorists. NEVER. However, all things work together for good to those who love God and I confess to you that, that article however disparaging and infamous has helped me know a lot about LGBTI people.
Because of it, I have been contacted by my fellow bishops in the listening group in the UK, Canada and individual LGBTI people in Kenya. Therefore, let me clear the air on this issue, I never said anything of that sort!
In conclusion, Rev.Kimindu said to the Bishop, “If you tell your clergy that they should pastor to homosexuals, they will follow because they say they are waiting for your word. I also request that you also tell your colleagues the bishops that you are now supporting change. The clergy will change if you lead.
The Bishop asked many questions and the group gladly answered without any hesitation. He confessed that, “Out of the testimonies I have heard from you, I have learned a lot.” There are even Anglicans here! “Come to Church. The bishop officially closed the meeting with a word of prayer. He accepted that the report of our meeting with him be ‘circulated widely’.