Kenyan Violence Spurs Congregation to Increase Support

Post a Comment » Written on January 23rd, 2008     
Filed under: News
ROSEVILLE, MN (January 23, 2008) – The violence in Kenya has inspired members of the Roseville Covenant Church to increase its support of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya.

The congregation, which has worked with the African denomination on a number of projects over the past several two years, is sending nearly $3,000 to assist the churches there.

“We want to show our love and support to our brothers and sisters in Kenya in their hour of crisis,” explains Roseville pastor Rollie Mossberg. “And help to alleviate some of the needs many of them are now facing, particularly those who have been forced to flee their homes or who’ve had their homes destroyed.”

In the past, the church has worked through Covenant World Relief (CWR) on goat-raising and micro enterprise projects and is buying land and helping to construct a new church in Lamu.

“We have already given the money for the land and are raising funds through our Sunday school offerings for building the church,” says Mossberg.

The church’s relationship with the ECCK began in 2005 with sponsorship of a Kenyan Covenant student at Daystar University, a Christian school in that country. That student has graduated and the church is sponsoring another students.

Leading the church’s work have been Bruce and Sharon Reichenbach, who traveled to Kenya in 2005 to do volunteer teaching at the school. On weekends they ministered to the churches and their leaders, preaching, conducting communion, doing leadership training, and assisting the individual churches in various ways.

They returned in 2007, taking soccer equipment for three churches. and again working with ECCK leaders and congregations. They also have helped the ECCK develop sustainable projects and have served as ambassadors for the ECCK in the U.S.

Bruce Reichenbach, who chairs Roseville’s Outreach and Evangelism committee, says the funds will be distributed through ECCK moderator Dickson Mwati.

Reichenbach hopes other Covenant churches will respond to the crisis as well as assist other development work. “Our goal is to enlist other Covenant congregations to partner with these 10 Kenyan churches, to help them get established and to grow in their ministry,” he says.

The need in the country is growing as the violence continues to worsen. Clashes between rival tribes since disputed presidential elections in December have killed hundreds and forced thousands more to flee from their homes.

Roughly 100 people have fled to Kijabe, where several members of the Forest Park Covenant Church of Muskegon, Michigan, have served for at least five years. Another 250 have fled to a nearby town, says longtime Covenant minister Wally Coots.

“So many Kikuyus have left the predominately Luo area of Kisumu,” says Coots. “These displaced persons show up at relatives’ homes or makeshift relief centers.”

Coots has served as youth pastor and teacher at the Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school for missionary children since he and his wife, Donna, moved to the country in 2002.

The academy has collected food, clothing, blankets and food to distribute, Coots says. Kenyan schools are starting again and the refugees are adding to the numbers in each class, “so the missionary community is trying to assist there as well,” he adds.

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