Kenya: Whose Gonna Stop the Fire?

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on January 7, 2008.

We call on the churches of Kenya to do their part in pursuing the common good of their communities and country. Churches have a leading role to play in ensuring respect for human life and seeking reconciliation between neighbours. This is especially urgent amid ominous signs of ethnically targeted hatred and violence. Homes, businesses, public buildings and places of worship must remain safe.

–The Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.

One of the stories reported from Kenya last week is the kind of thing that keeps pastors like me awake at night, twitching and sweating. Following a disputed election, ethnic violence erupted causing a group of men, women and children to seek sanctuary in a church in the town of Eldoret. In a scene painfully reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide, a mob attacked and set fire to the church. As many as thirty people died in the ensuing inferno.

As I look out at the congregation gathered to worship in my church, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and with the unnamed pastor who opened the doors of his church to a fleeing crowd only to watch the murder of those under his care and protection. The horror inside that church is beyond my imagining.

Kenya is a mess right now. Continue reading