Presbyterian moderator Rev Dr Sam Mawhinney on a mission to Kenya

Presbyterian moderator the Rev Dr Sam Mawhinney landed in Nairobi last night at the start of a 15-day tour of Kenya.
Tassagh Presbyterian church, Keady, Co Armagh   PIcture: Billy MaxwellTassagh Presbyterian church, Keady, Co Armagh   PIcture: Billy Maxwell
Tassagh Presbyterian church, Keady, Co Armagh PIcture: Billy Maxwell

Each year, Presbyterian moderators undertake four presbytery tours in Ireland and one major overseas visit.

Primary purpose for an overseas tour is to continue to build relationships, and strengthen ties with global partner churches.

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The Kenya visit will strengthen relationships with Irish Presbyterianism's longest established mission partners – Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), and also encourage and support PCI’s missionaries..

Dr Mawhinney, accompanied by his wife Karen, said: “Kenya is an amazing and beautiful country with much to offer, a place where the people have a great attitude to life and are positive about their Christian faith.

"For a year in the 1990s, I worked as a doctor in PCEA’s Kikuyu hospital west of the capital Nairobi.

"It was a year before I began training for Presbyterian ministry and it was an amazing experience," said Dr Mawhinney.

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Kenya is a predominantly Christian country of 48 million,and Presbyterian Church of East Africa has 1,000 congregations in 310 parishes, with congregations in nearby Uganda and Tanzania.

Each of the five Irish Presbyterian missionaries engage in various projects connected with PCEA..

Dr Mawhinney will meet officials of Presbyterian Church of East Africa and also led Sunday worship in various churches.

“In sharing God’s word with our brothers and sisters in Christ, I want to show how, as followers of Jesus, we can be confident in Christ, holding on to His words in scriptures and building our lives and communities that will thrive in reality of the present world.

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"Presbyterian Church of East Africa is a growing church, I look forward to listening and learning from them," said Dr Mawhinney..

The first Irish Presbyterian missionary in Kenya served as a chaplain at Thika high school in the 1960s.

The Mawhinneys will spend time with Naomi Leremore, her husband Thomas, and children, in Nairobi. Naomi serves with PCEA’s theological education project.

They will then meet Stephen and Angelina Cowan, who serve together in north Kenya, working with the Samburu and Turkana people, through church-based community development and outreach programmes since 1989..

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Dr Mawhinney will make a courtesy visit to the local presbytery that the Cowans are based in.

They will meet those involved in Samburu Christian awareness and action programme that Stephen and Angelina run.

The moderator and his wife will then travel to Masai Mara, in south-west Nairobi, where Presbyterian missionaries Gary and Mary Reid are based.

The Reids first went to Kenya in 2000 and have worked in the Olkinyiei area since 2005.

They are involved in PCEA church planting, outreach and literature distribution, among the Maasai people.

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