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HEADLINE NEWS..:
BREAKING SCANDAL: Kenyan Pastor in Boston suspended over gross insubordination and misconduct
Kiama
PHOTO:Peter Kiama, the now dethroned pastor of the Saint John's Anglican church in Sutton, right, leaves the church grounds last Sunday following a stormy meeting to discuss his suspension. AJABU MEDIA PIC/H.MAINA
 

By:
HARRISON MAINA

Posted:
Jun,11-2017 16:37:02
 
(Updated Sun June 11, 2017)SUTTON, Mass.,__A renowned Kenyan pastor in Boston has been dethroned and his license to preach under the American Anglican Church permanently revoked.

Rev. Peter Kiama of the Saint John's Anglican Church in Sutton near Worcester was given 48 hours to vacate from the rectory where he had been given a free residence as the Pastor, failure to which applicable state law and machinery would be used to evict him.

The marching orders were issued by the American Anglican church under the stewardship of Bishop John Herzog, head of the mother diocese based in New York,citing gross insubordination and illegal attempts to remove the church from the oversight of her Diocese.

According to the Bishop, Rev. Kiama was fired on Saturday (June 3, 2017) and can no longer perform any pastoral duties whatsoever at any of their 7 affiliated churches in the USA.

The rapidly evolving scandal boiled over publicly during the aborted Sunday service, with shock and disbelief engulfing hundreds of parishioners who came ready to worship only to find their estranged pastor stranded outside the church.

Another group of parishioners was inside the church conducting praise and worship songs led by the assistant pastor, Joshua Peterson, also a Kenyan.

At the same time, Bishop Herzog was holed up at the nearby Rectory in an emergency meeting with the church council together with Bishop John Francis from the Order of St. Andrews in New York, and Rev. Samuel Kimohu of the St. Stephen's church in Lowell, all who were present to find ways to stabilize the church amid the deepening crisis.

Kimohu (also a member of the American Anglican church),attended the meeting at the invitation of bishop Herzog in order to help him mediate.

However, some alarmed council members opposed to the idea refused to turn up for the meeting.
Speaking to Ajabu Media on condition of anonymity, several church members revealed that as a last dash desperate move, pastor Kiama had sent messages urging the church council to assemble at the church on Saturday, ostensibly to pass a resolution that would remove it (St. John's church from the American Anglican church diocese).


Bishop Herzog, left, consults with vestry members.

Frustrated with the unexpected resistance Kiama reportedly urged members to assemble outside the church entrance the following Sunday morning and block Bishop Herzog from entering the church.

The new plot also fell apart when only a group of about 10 women heeded the call. As it became clear that most of the members who showed up for Sunday service were unaware of the developments hence most headed straight into the church.

In other areas of the church grounds, two other separate meetings, one by male elders and one by female elders were taking place in a frantic effort to come to terms with the crisis and save the church from collapse.

When the Bishop's meeting concluded, all parishioners gathered on the grounds behind the church where Herzog sought to address the issues.

"Since arriving here from Alabama and assuming the pastoral duties, Peter has been very difficult to work with. He does not listen to anybody. He has been accused of being very difficult to get along with by his fellow pastors, does not get along with church leaders at the Diocese in New York and even many members of the church. There have also been accusations of sexual immorality going on in this church by Brother Peter," said Bishop Herzog to a stunned congregation.

"There have been attempts by Peter to remove this church from the Diocese. He did not come to me to tell me that, it was brought to my attention by someone else. He can't take the church from you. You people own the church. You have a vestry to speak for you. The Vestry made it clear, brother Peter has a problem dealing with people. He has not worked with father Cyrus, he has not worked with father Joshua, and he has not worked with the bishop. That's the problem," he continued.

Several parishioners who apparently sided with Rev. Kiama yelled back at Bishop Herzog saying that they have been able to work with the pastor, leaving the majority of the members in in utter consternation.

Undeterred by the shouts, Bishop Herzog continued to define other problems plaguing Rev. Kiama who joined the church 14 years ago from Alabama when he was invited by the then pastor, Rev. EkiraMurithi to help minister at the church in performing some roles that female priests in the American Anglican denomination cannot do.


Dumbfounded female parishioners organize themselves to join the 9 member male only committee selected to seek answers and way forward.

He said that attempts by Kiama to remove the church from the cover of the diocese and make it an independent Anglican church posed a grave danger where members risked losing the church they have spent so much financial and time resources to build over many years.

Herzog clarified that according to the Cannon laws, an Anglican church cannot operate as an independent church and still call itself Anglican.

"There is nothing like an independently standing Anglican church. Independent churches can do whatever they want to do without anyone questioning them."

He urged members not to allow anyone to take the church away from the diocese to avoid problems that come with lack of oversight, drawing parallels with the recent problems at the All Saints Community church in Quincy, another Kenyan community church where over 60 members were kicked out through a no trespass order from the church they had built and paid for over a 15 year period.

"The people at All Saints church had a problem because their pastor removed the church from the bishop. Then they were told to go away and never step in the church again. Don't let anybody take this church away from you. You built it, you paid for it, and it's your church.This church does not belong to father Peter. It's not owned by the Anglican Church or the diocese, it belongs to you. I will let the vestry you have selected speak for you on this matter going forward," the Bishop said adding that Kiama had been trying to cajole the church council to approve the controversial move.

Herzog said that the myriad of problems caused by Rev. Kiama and reported to the Diocese over the years has left the diocese no option but to terminate his services at the church with close to 400 members.

"I came here in February this year to remove the pastor but you pleaded with me to give him another chance. I agreed. Unfortunately, Peter has not stopped doing the same things he has been accused of and we now had to let him go."

"I have fired Peter for two main reasons, one: his attempt to remove the church from the diocese and two, he does not follow the instructions of the bishop," he stressed, adding that an investigation by the church vestry into the sexual immorality issues were not conclusive and did not produce any evidence that could be relied on.

However, speaking separately to Ajabu Media at the scene, the husband of the woman accused of engaging in the sexual misconduct with Rev. Kiama revealed that he had caught his wife many times going into Rev. Kiama's residence at the Rectory claiming that she was helping her pastor with laundry and dinner preparation,only to return back at her home late in the night.

The husband (name withheld) added that despite warning his wife to stop the unexplained behavior, she continued until a one at one point, Rev. Kiama stormed at the family's house to angrily warn him to stop abusing his wife.

"Pastor Kiama came to our house and attempted to confront me regarding my wife. He banged the tables as he angrily accused me abusing my wife. I told him that was not true but he would not listen. I threw him out of my house and informed the vestry via a WhatsApp message."


Fired Kenyan pastor, Peter Kiama stranded outside the church rectory whre bishop John Herzog was holding an emergency meeting with church council members and mediators.

He added that members of the vestry refused to act on his complaint despite him handing them over 5 pages of problems he had encountered with Rev. Kiama during his continued affair with his wife.

He added that the bizzare affair that separated the copule with two children was more hurting as pastor Kiama was the one who officiated their wedding and lived in their house for 7 months after he moved from Alabama.

Stung by the shocking revelations made in open air, the already fired pastor Kiama shot up from his chair to the center of the open court and angrily disputed Bishop Herzog's characterization of the problem, leaving parishioners agape with disbelief.

"Gossip! That's gossip!. There were no minutes taken by the council and sent to him that I am taking your church," Kiama retorted as he engaged bishop Herzog in a verbal tussle right infront of disbelieving parishioners.

"If there is a minute here, can the church council here produce a minute," Kiama continued.

"Peter instructed the council not to make any minute. That is why there are no records kept about this but various council members have said this occurred," Herzog added before retreating back to his chair in an apparent move to end the altercation.

"The council is here. Let them produce any minute. The council is here bishop," Kiama, a married father of three whose family lives back in cental Kenya yelled back at is bishop.

He accused the Herzog of plotting to take the Kenyan church and community away from their pastor.

"You want to take a Kenyan community away from their pastor. You want to take this community; their children and church we have built for 9 years. How do you listen to people who don't belong to the vestry? You refused to listen when we told you it is lies," Kiama continued with the angry tirade before church council members Richard Karathi and Dominic Nyutu rushed to calm him down, guiding him back to his chair.


Peter Kiama, the now dethroned pastor of the Saint John's Anglican church in Sutton, right, leaves the church grounds last Sunday in the company of Rev. Samuel Kimohu of the saint Stephens church in Lowell following a stormy meeting to discuss his suspension. AJABU MEDIA PIC/H.MAINA

Interestingly, Kiama did not deny the sexual immorality allegations raised by Bishop Herzog.

Prior to the uncomfortable exchange, parishioners complained of the secretive nature that the church council had been handling church business, withholding information from them only to hear that their pastor has been fired for gross misconduct.

"We are gathered here today because things have been going very wrong in our church. We have been having many problems which we asked our church council to solve as our representative but they have not done so because all we hear is how they are divided," lamented David Ngari, a church elder given the hard task of moderating a high tension meeting where several parishioners threatened to go physical.

"It is very clear that the church council has failed us. They failed to do the things we sent them to do. Yes, the council has done a lot of good things in the church which we give credit to them, but they have failed us badly by failing to resolve the most critical problems threatening to split our church again," he added.

Ngari said that as a result, church elders who met earlier during the day had come up with a list of 9 men who will hold an emergency meeting together with Herzog and other church leaders to come up with solutions to the existing problems.


He blasted the Kenyan American Pastors Fellowship in the region for yet again turning a blind eye on critical matters in the community involving one of their own as the situation at St. John's church deteriorated.

"We brought this matter to the Kenya Pastor's Association. What did they do? Nothing!" Ngari lamented.


Parishioners inside Saint John's church last sunday as chaos happened outside.

However, in a blunt rejoinder, several female parishioners stepped up and decried the apparent secretive way that the church council was dealing with the said "problems" without informing the members of the nature of the dispute at hand.

"Many of us members here don't even know what these problems are. Can you please tell us what our pastor has done that made him to be fired? Why haven't we as members of the church been informed of the problems? What are you hiding," yelled several members of the congregation.

"They are the problems that we all read on the WhatsApp messages that have been circulating," Ngari responded prompting uproar from the crowd that demanded more specifics.

"Not everybody received these WhatsApp messages you are talking about. We need someone to tell us right now about the problems," yelled a voice in the congregation.


Female parishioners also raised objections to a 9 member committee of male elders that had been selected to deal with the crisis in the absence of the church council which was declared a total failure.

Having no other option, it was agreed that Bishop Herzog address the congregation to clarify the nature of the problems and the decisions reached.
 

Towards the end of hsi address, the bishop said that following when Kiama joined the church, he signed a document with the oath to serve this church with utmost good faith and uphold moral obligations, but unfortunately, he had failed to uphold it.

"The oath is not only a promise to me as the bishop, but also to the Almighty God. He has broken his oath."

Unfortunately, committee members sent back to communicate the results of the closed door deliberations gave members confusing information.
The Bishop said he has been working with the Kenyan immigrant community for over 25 years and has helped many Kenyan priests immigrate to the USA, file for their Green Cards and Social Security numbers in order to help them find work as they serve and minister the Good News to their congregations, but has never seen a more defiant clergyman than Rev. Kiama.

To diffuse the tensions at the meeting, a group of female members was added to the already selected male committee who then retreated into the church basement with Bishop Herzog and other mediators present.

After close to two hours of deliberations, the Bishop Herzog left in the company of the two other priests from New York while Rev. Komohu, and David Ngari led the select committee back to address the eagerly waiting members.


Members were informed that the "intense discussions" that the select committee just held with the Bishop resolved that Kiama would not be immediately fired but will stay on suspension until a 30 day period is over when the final decision will be made by administrators in New York.

They said that some conditions had been set that Rev. Kiama would have to abide by before that decision is reached.


In the meantime, parishioners were urged to show up for regular morningservice next Sunday that will be led by Rev. Kimohu of St. Stephen's church followed by a special general meeting where a decision will be made on whether to retain Rev. Kiama as their pastor or let pastor Joshua take over in lieu of the fast deepening crisis.

Reached for a comment for clarification on the confusing messages, Bishop Herzog said that the decision to terminate Kiama still stood but he has a right to appeal within 30 days.

"It is my understanding that Peter has not yet vacated the rectory of the church. We had given him 48 hours to vacate and offered to pay his hotel bills for a certain period as he searches for another place to live at but now that is off the table. He will be evicted should he not leave immediately according to the law," said Herzog indicating that the decision was clearly communicated to the group of members comprising of the select committe mediating on Sunday.


Some members head for the church sancuary as others remain outside

According to church members familiar with details, the current Saint John's church building in Sutton, has a market value of about $600,000 but had been purchased at about $220,000 mortgage from a Catholic Community looking to sell after membership diminished making it difficult for a handful left to sustain the bills.

Saint John's also owns another smaller church that they relocated from in Leicester worth about $400,000. The pastor, Rev. Kiama receives a monthly salary of $3,000 in addition to free housing at the rectory.

Rev. Kiama was accused of extreme high handedness in dealing with church administration, frustrating other pastors who have served with him at the church over the years forcing them to quit.

Among them including Rev. Ekira Muriithi who asked for retirement to avoid further painful experiences and Rev. Cyrus Irungu who quit the church to plant another American Anglican church in Brockton, near Boston, Bishop Herzog told Ajabu Media.

Several Kenyan churches in Boston have split up recently in almost similarly contentious fashion as Saint John's Worcester. Among them include the PCEA Ushindi church of Lowell that split several times to give rise to PCEA Imani and PCEA Neema church, all of Lowell.

Prior to launching as Ushindi church, the church was formed by a group that had split from st. Stephens church.

Grace International church, also of Lowell experienced a dispute that that saw a group leave to form the International Eagle Christian Ministries, now renamed JCC Lowell.

Also, a dispute saw the Christ is the Answer church in North Chelmsford saw a large group spit to form the Well of worship center located in Dracut.

In early 2,000's, disagreements at the then first ever Kenyan community church, the Saint Paul's Anglican church in Malden, also under bisho Herzog, caused a three way splinter that gave rise to the St. Stephens Episcopal church Kiswahili Service in Lynn, the current Saint Paul's church in Lowell and the Calvary Evangelical church in Dracut.

Many other Kenyan community churches have also split, shuttered or experienced an exodus of members following bitter, unresolved disputes.


 

Source:
AJABU AFRICAN NEWS

 
 
 

 
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