• Diocese has over 64 parishes. Those pushing for split say it's been 21 years since the diocese was created.
• Those pushing for split accuse bishop of bias in employment of church staff and neglect of some churches.
Anglican Church of Kenya Diocese of Mbeere will not be divided, Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit has said.
The agitators did not follow the right procedure, he said during a meeting on Thursday at the diocese’s cathedral in Siakago town. “Those agitating for the split wrote to me directly yet I don’t have the power to do that,” Sapit said.
The heavily guarded meeting was attended by more than 500 members from 64 parishes of the diocese. The was palpable tension in the meeting, attended by the agitators of the split and those against it.
The push for a split has been going on for the past year.
The right procedure when applying for a split of a diocese, Sapit said, is writing to the local synod of the diocese. "The congress then debates it and if passed, the resolution is forwarded to the House of Bishops," he said.
"If the House of Bishops passes the proposal, it refers it to the standing committee of the provincial synod in Nairobi–which has representatives from all dioceses in the country–which looks into the issue."
If the standing committee approves the move, it refers it to the commission for creation of new dioceses and boundaries.
The commission then visits churches in the diocese to assess viability before declaring creation of a new diocese, he said.
Sapit was accompanied by the diocese's Bishop Moses Masamba Ole and their Machakos colleague Bishop Joseph Mutungi.
Agitators for a split include Lay Canon John Njiru Nguru, Pius Njiru and JJ Nyaga, who say it has been 21 years since the diocese was created.
They accuse Bishop Masamba of concentrating development in Mbeere North subcounty, where he comes from, and of biase in employment of church staff.
They said Mbeere South is starved of development, yet it contributes more than Sh21 million annually, while Mbeere North contributes just Sh9 million.
Sapit dismissed the claims, saying employment of staff and appointment of clerics was above board.
He said most of the churches which claim the bishop does not visit them do not plan the visits. Besides, he said, visits are made on a need basis.
Sapit said those demanding a new diocese were in the minority.
He urged all members to forgive each other so the church can move forward and "concentrate on missionary work to increase faithful, which would determine the necessity of an extra diocese".
Edited by R.Wamochie