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HEADLINE NEWS..:
BREAKING NEWS: Defrocked Kenyan pastor in Boston lands in court for defying orders
Kimohu in court
PHOTO:Rev. Samuel Kimohu of the St. Stephens Kenyan community church in Lowell( 2nd left) leaved the Essex Superior court in Lawrence, MA after being sued for defying defrocking orders and manipulating the process to overhaul the board of directors in order to take control of the church. to the left is Sa
 

By:
HARRISON MAINA

Posted:
Dec,05-2017 22:53:16
 
LAWRENCE, MA__Alarmed that a defrocked Kenyan pastor in Boston might be conducting priestly duties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without a valid license, a judge at the Essex Superior court in Lawrence sought to determine the licensing issue first before any arguments on the suit brought by the American Anglican church in a bid to restrain Rev. Samuel Kimohu, pastor of the St. Stephen's Kenyan community church based in Lowell, approximately 40 miles North of Boston.

According to the suit, the American Anglican church, in conjunction with James Karuchi, Rahab Kiambuthi and Karen Ngugi, three St. Stephen's church parishioners who filed the suit, the church will suffer irreparable harm if Rev. Kimohu continued to defiantly conduct duties of a priest at the Kenyan community church without a license and while defrocked.

According to an emergency Ex Parte motion for temporary restraining order and a Preliminary Injunction filed by attorney James Doherty on behalf of the plaintiffs, the pastor (defendant) was defrocked in September of this year for unlawful illegal misconduct including knowingly performing an "alleged marriage" while he did not possess a valid license to conduct marriages in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


He said that the marriage in question was also not valid as one of the individuals being married was already married to another person and the union had not yet been legally dissolved.

The suit is been presided by Superior court judge, Justice SalimTabit.

The American Anglican church urged the court to stop Rev. Kimohu from conducting any church related business at the St. Stephens church including officiating in an upcoming wedding on November 25 as well as a planned fundraiser the following day ( November 26th) to cover legal fees for the current suit.

During the hearing last night, attorney Pon Nokham on behalf of Rev. Kimohu, was at pains explaining how the pastor is currently conducting church ceremonies without a license if he was indeed defrocked by the American Anglican church, Order of St. Andrews--which has been having oversight authority of the St. Stephen's church for the last 16 years.

Judge Tabit expressed grave concern that pastor Kimohu might be conducting church ceremonies while unlicensed to do so in the State of Massachusetts while projecting himself as an ordained Anglican Church minister.

He warned that if he finds that to be the case, then pastor Kimohu['s actions might not only cause irreparable damage to the American Anglican church, but to members of the general public as well.

"If this gentleman is indeed defrocked by the American Anglican church and license to preach revoked that could cause irreparable damage not just to the American Anglican church, but to the general public as well. Can you explain to me how is he is conducting the duties of a minister while not ordained or without a license," a perplexed judge asked attorney Nokham.

"Does anyone here know if someone can be ordained by the State or another person if they are not under the authority of some church body? It is more serious if he is doing things out there without a license or being ordained while projecting himself as an Anglican minister while that is not the case," the judge continued to probe.

At this moment, Rev. Kimohu summoned Pharel Kimungu, the church warden sitting nearby in the docks who handed him a file from which he produced a document that he sought to introduce as an ordination certificate issued back in 1986 by the Anglican diocese of Nairobi in his motherland of Kenya.

"Do we have a license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? I understand this church is a nonprofit under the 501C," the judge asked, dismissing the relevance of the license issued in Kenya decades ago.

"Where are the guiding principles that state how a person can be ordained and conduct a ministers duties? It seems to me that a group in this church separated themselves from the American Anglican church so they can do whatever they want to do out there without being accountable to anyone," continued the clearly perplexed judge.

He demanded to know the name of the new church that pastor Kimohu and the group of members supporting him have formed.

"It is still St. Stephens church but unaffiliated with the Order of St. Andrews your honor," Kimohu's attorney offered.

"Who are they affiliated with"?

"I am not sure if they are affiliated with anyone right now but we can find that out," Nokham responded.

Attorney James Doherty for the American Anglican Church disclosed that there was a group of St. Stephen's members who want to continue under the hierarchical affiliation with the American Anglican Church under the leadership of Rev. Leonard Ngarama, an ordained minister and members of the St. Stephens church.

"The American Anglican church is interested in the stability of St. Stephens's church. We are not interested in the church property or funds. We are just very concerned that Samuel is planning to conduct a marriage ceremony at the church in the next two weeks and a fundraiser for legal fees," Doherty told the judge.

Surprised there was another ordained minister capable of conducting priestly duties at the church, judge Tabit sought to know how Kimohu would be prejudiced if he was restrained from conducting services at St. Stephens.

"I am not aware there is another minister in the church your honor," his attorney responded.

The judge then abruptly brought the proceeding to an end saying that will need to conduct some research into how church ministers are ordained and licensed in the state of Massachusetts before making a ruling expected by mid -next week.

He added that the board of directors of the church had voted to cut ties with the American Anglican church and that the majority of the members wanted him to continue serving as their pastor.
The developments come barely two months after the pastor was defrocked and license to conduct church ceremonies under the American Anglican church for defying the orders and continuing to run the same church under the guise of a newly independent church.

Without denying that he was defrocked and license revoked by the American Anglican church, Kimohu's lawyer insisted he was still an ordained minister and thus can continue conducting church ceremonies at the St. Stephens church.


The characterization was vehemently opposed by attorney James Doherty appearing for the American Anglican Church.

Doherty said that despite the actions of the American Anglican church to defrock the pastor in an effort to protect the integrity of the church and the parishioner's spiritual welfare, Rev. Kimohu defiantly continued to preach at St. Stephen's and has already scheduled to conduct another wedding on November 26.

He added that the pastor and some of the parishioners supporting him have also scheduled to hold a fundraiser at the church to raise funds to cover the legal costs of the initiated suit.

Clarifying that the American Anglican church has no desire or intention to control the church property or funds contributed by members, Doherty maintained that the actions of the pastor will cause irreparable harm to the American Anglican church as the oversight authority of St. Stephens's church.

He added that St. Stephen's church parishioners who don't agree with the agreement they entered with the American Anglican church as their hierarchical oversight authority were free to leave and start their own church elsewhere if they did not wish to continue with the affiliation they willingly entered instead of continuing to plunge the church into further dispute.


Asked for comments as he left the court house, Rev. Kimohu and several church elders highly agitated with media presence did not respond Samuel Mbugua, the People's Warden attempted to assault an Ajabu Media reporter covering the proceeding but was restrained by Rev. Kimuhu.

Moments later, Samuel Mwaura, popularly known as Samrack, another church elder who runs a Kenyan social media website made calls to Ajabu Africa News demanding that photos of the pastor and church elders at the court should not be published in the news.

Mwaura claimed that the members of the St. Stephens church are his "constituents" and "family" hence he would feel embarrassed if their pictures were to be published.

"You can write the story but don't publish the pictures," Mwaura pressed.

Informed that he has neither the basis nor authority to prevent Ajabu Media from publishing the images, Mwaura threatened to retaliate by publishing an alleged video he took of the Ajabu Media reporter interviewing Bishop John Herzog of the American Anglican church during a recent visit to the church to announce the defrocking of pastor Kimohu.

Mwaura continued with his attempts to influence the news reporting and suppressing the truth through WhatsApp messages but eventually gave up after emphatically informed of the inappropriate nature of his demands.

At the time of going to press, it was not yet clear if Rev. Kimohu will still lead the upcoming Sunday service at the church as the entire Kenyan community in Boston that is hamstrung and severely divided by similar, multiple and perennial churchscandals eagerly await the judge's ruling.

However, in clear efforts to misinform and manipulate the church members, some of the pastor's supporters have been sending messages on WhatsApp indicating that the pastor won at the court despite the reality that the judge took the case under advisement until next week when he will make a ruling.

Gullible parishioners ill informed about the proceedings hailed the "court victory" with shouts of "Amen, Hallelujah".

Led by Samuel Mbugua, who is also a part owner of the Acre Sports Bar, a Kenyan watering hole in Lowell, the supports moved the legal fees fundraiser from Sunday next week to tomorrow, urging all parishioners to bring in $100 in an effort to raise $10,000 for the pastor's legal defense.

Kimohu's defrocking by the American Anglican church is the second one to happen in his long career as an Anglican clergyman. In 1998, the pastor was defrocked by the Anglican church of Kenya for similar defiance of authorities placed over him in the church hierarchy during leadership power struggles at the Kajiado diocese where he served.

​According to other Kenyan pastors in the Boston region who witnessed the Kajiado diocese fiasco, widely reported in the main Kenyan media at the time, Kimohu's 1998 defrocking followed an incidence of physical violence he inflicted on the late Bishop David Gitari who had been sent to Kajiado district help resolve a biter church dispute.

Kenyans speaking on condition of anonymity said that they hoped a prompt and decisive ruling will help clarify the sticky licensing issues by many Kenyan pastors in Boston, some of whom have established churches without proper licensing and with self declared titles while resisting affiliation with any American church organizations in order to evade accountability of financial enrichment schemes perpetrated in some community churches.

Source:
AJABU AFRICAN NEWS

 
 
 

 
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