BREAKING NEWS: Kenyan Pastor, Samuel Kimohu, now banned from St. Stephen's church
PHOTO: Rev. Samuel Kimohu, former pastor of the St. Stephens Kenyan Community Church in Lowell.PIC BY COURTESY/AJABU DIASPORA NETWORK WHATSAPP GROUP
Dec,05-2017 22:53:41
Originally published November 21, Updated Friday,  November 24 th, 2017. 

Rev. Samuel K. Kimohu, former pastor of the St. Stephens Kenyan community church in Lowell near Boston has been ordered by the Essex Superior court in Lawrence near Boston to stop projecting himself out to the public and parishioners as the priest and pastor of the church for alleged fraud and other misconduct in contravention to the Articles of Association of the church as well as Canons of the American Anglican church that defrocked and revoked his license to preach issued back in 2001.

In addition, Kimohu was ordered to stay away from the church he has served for the last 16 years until further orders of the court.

While allowing a preliminary injunction on behalf of the plaintiff, the American Anglican church in conjunction with several other members of the St. Stephens church, Justice Salim Rodriguez Tabit further ordered Kimohu to stop any attempts to sell, transfer or reduce the value of the church property located at 281 West Sixth Street in Lowell or any funds and assets that may belong to the church.

The judge also ordered all current vestry members installed recently by the pastor in disputed elections to also refrain from selling, transferring encumbering, or reducing in value all real church assets including the building as well as any liquid assets such as cash in bank or elsewhere.

The ruling, seen by Ajabu Media, is particularly hard hitting as it bans church parishioners supporting Rev. Kimohu from engaging in any activity geared toward assisting him in the current dispute or any matter involving St. Stephen's church administration, whether within the church building our out in the public sphere.

Any violation of the Superior court order could put the pastor, members of the current vestry and the church board or general parishioners in severe legal jeopardy.

Asserting the jurisdiction of the court over the church dispute, Justice Tabit said that although the First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits courts from intervening in matters involving self governance of both hierarchical and congregational churches, state courts are still authorized to exercise intervention "for the purpose of ascertaining how the church was organized, identifying the authority to whom churches were answerable, and enforcing the resolution of internal church disputes by that authority."

Further, the judge added, the courts have jurisdiction over church property disputes such as the one existing at St. Stephens with different church factions claiming ownership of the large property use as church location valued around $600,000 with a fully paid up mortgage and unspecified amount of cash and other assets.

"The state has an obvious and legitimate interest in the peaceful resolution of property disputes, and in providing a civil forum where the ownership of church property can be determined conclusively," Justice Tabit wrote, quoting a precedent set inJones v Wolf, 443 US. at 603. 775 in 1979.

According to the judgment, the court found Kimohu in violation of both Article II of the Corporation's Articles of Association which are on file with the Secretary of State of Massachusetts as well as Section 5 of the Canons (rules) of the Anglican church due to several actions he has committed that gave rise to the current complaint initially filed on October 19 followed by an emergency motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on November 3rd

Among the infractions included the allegation that on August 26 this year, pastor Kimohu fraudulently performed an illegal marriage ceremony of an already married individual despite being warned against doing so by his bishop, John Herzog.

Bishop John Herzog of the American Anglican church(center) chats with Samuel Mbugua, the People's Warden at the Kenyan Community St. Stephens church in Lowell as David Ikanyi, former church chairman (right) and looks on. AJABU MEDIA PIC/H.MAINA

As a result, and in addition to other instances of misconduct, the clergyman's license was revoked and he was defrocked from serving as a priest of the church, but he defiantly continued to serve.

He was also accused of fraudulently removing three members of the board of directors of the church without complying with the corporate by-laws and without the members' knowledge or consent.

The ruling means that the pastor is now prohibited from performing a wedding ceremony he was scheduled to perform this Saturday at the church in Lowell and a legal fees fundraiser initially scheduled for Sunday, the day after the wedding but fast tracked to last Sunday after sensing trouble ahead following last week's hearing.

According reliable sources, the fundraiser, which aimed at raising $10,000, fell short of the target amount after most of the parishioners balked from opening up their wallets due to conflicting information, but still yielded about $6,000.

Fund raising organizers, led by Emcee Samuel Mbugua, also the people's warden, advised members that the fundraiser will continue next Sunday but its still not clear if the Superior court judgment has a bearing on the effort.

According to a committee of parishioners working with the American Anglican church to restore stability at the church, the wedding slated for Saturday will continue as long at the parties involved have no problems with the assistant pastor, Rev. Leonard Ngarama performs the ceremony.

However, according to Mbugua, in a text message to Ajabu Media, pastor Kimohu has already lodged an appeal, with a hearing expected in 10 days.

According to reliable sources, the groom and bridegroom involved will continue with the wedding but it is not yet clear who will officiate as a priest.

The rapid fall of pastor Kimohu from the pulpit at St. Stephen's comes barely two months after he orchestrated a revolt by a big group of parishioners supporting him against Bishop John Herzog on Sunday September 24 who had attended the Sunday service to inform the members on why Kimohu had been defrocked.

The parishioners, acting on bad information, defied Herzog's efforts to continue the service without pastor Kimohu's leadership, forcing him (the Bishop) to abruptly leave half way through.

Several hours after the embarrassing developments, Kimuhu reportedly made a "lap of victory" at a burial fundraising ceremony at the nearby PCEA Neema church, another Kenyan community church recently founded after their pastor--Rev. Dr. Karimi Mumbui--was similarly defrocked and banned from leading the PCEA Ushindi church, the original church he served, by the Presbyterian Church USA for "gross moral misconduct".

After a protracted court battle at the superior court in Woburn, Dr. Karimi left the Uhindi church and took a large group of parishioners to establish the PCEA Neema church, switching the church affiliation and oversight control from the Presbyterian Church USA to the Presbyterian church of east Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Addressing mourners at the burial ceremony, Rev. Kimohu reportedly bragged of how he had just led members of the St. Stephen's church to kick out an Mzungu (Swahili for White man, in reference to Bishop Herzog) from their church.

Reliable sources at the meeting told Ajabu Media that mourners clapped and cheered thunderously as Kimohu recounted his "conquest", egged on by the PCEA Neema church pastor to describe the developments in details one more time.

Many Kenyans in the region decried the verbal attacks on Bishop Herzog the PCEA Neema church burial event, terming it as highly inappropriate and racist for Kenyan clergymen in the region to promote among gullible and ill-informed parishioners.

However, following the recent developments at the Essex superior court, several parishioners at St. Stephen's church previously supporting the pastor and speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution, have revealed to Ajabu media that they have started seeing the bigger picture that has eluded them for a long time due to reliance on misleading information provided by pastor Kimohu and those around him.