Maxwell also known as Nairobi Central Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church has had it rough this year. The remnant Church as they say while referring to a verse in Revelation – the last book in the Bible- has had leadership wrangles that has culminated by the controversial process of deregistering 15 members.
The Central Kenya Conference President Pastor John Kiragu expelled 15 members “following the chaos they have been causing at Nairobi Central SDA Church.”
The expelled members allegedly invited police officers to take over and “force agenda for negotiating on those very serious issues,”
This was confirmed by a statement from a member of 15 expelled members who commended the police, “We however commend the said police for acting professionally all through the time they were called within the church premises.”
The division in this church is ethnically instigated. Insiders are attributing this division to one Pastor Jean Pierre Maywa the Church’s head pastor who was posted to the Church in June 2018. They claim Maywa’s way of leadership has scuttled the unity in the church.
“The Pastor (Jean Pierre Maywa) has consistently promoted ethnicity in the church by profiling the dominant communities as pillars” a source said
The wrangles in Nairobi Central SDA Church began with a flawed Church nomination exercise which commenced in September 2018. Pastor Jean Pierre Maywa is said to have used ethnicity in conducting the nomination exercise for elders and other Church leaders and openly showed favoritism to one community which has over 90 percent representation in the Church Board. This brought about a lot of acrimony resulting in the boycott of the exercise by a section of the members. Under his supervision, the said board continued with its elections that has since caused the church.
“The disenfranchised members have been expressing their wishes to have this situation resolved and even requested for the transfer of the two pastors from the church to stop them sowing further seeds of discord but the Central Kenya Conference led by Pastor John Kiragu has not heeded to the wishes of majority of the members.” Said a source.
Revealing further that, “As if that is not enough, the pastors(John Kiragu, Peter Nyaga and Jean Pierre Maiywa) have been threatening to dis-fellowship those who have attempted to reason with them and this has created tension within the membership of the church.”
This is what escalated on Saturday 3rd August 2019 when Pr. John Kiragu unilaterally without following the laid down Church procedures excommunicated 15 members.
“The members consider this action of purported dis-fellowship null and void as due process must be followed for that to happen. This has made the worship atmosphere in the church toxic.” A source privy to the happenings told 254News.
At the centre of this fight are Pastor John Kiragu, Pastor Peter Nyaga and Pastor Maiywa.
The government closed the Church last Saturday for fear of violence following wrangles that have persisted for months. Anti-riot police were left manning the church compound.
“The church will only be re-opened for fellowship after the wrangling factions resolve their differences,” Nairobi Regional Commissioner Flora Mworia said.
According to Elder James Nyambane who purportedly spoke on behalf of Nairobi Central SDA Church members said, “The church members appreciate the effort of the Government in taking measures to address the security concerns noted. The church members are willing to cooperate with Government and leadership to handle these issues amicably and avert further infringement of the rights of the worshippers orchestrated by Pr. Maiywa, Pr. Nyaga, and Pr. Kiragu.”
The wrangles at Maxwell are also linked to the fight to control millions of shillings and other resources such as job opportunities in the church, schools and hospitals run by Adventists.
And for the elders, they are seemingly fought on the ground that they will participate in electing officials in the upcoming elections at Conference, Union, Division, and General Conference come 2020. Some factions from the Division, Union and Conference who are keen to remain in power are determined to have friendly persons as head elders and Nairobi Central SDA has been questioning this move.
“Start by demanding for the transfer of the immediate pastor of Maxwell SDA Church. Alternatively members can simply evict him asap! God’s Church is not a place for mediocre leadership. Or you can employ your own Pastors on contract basis of say 5 years. The good thing about SDA Churches is that they are member-owned. The conferences can fight their own wars without getting into the Churches.” An angry Adventist advised when reached for comments.
“The SDA Church, my Church, has to confront the question of lack of accountability over money that it has been glossing over with threats of curses whenever questions are raised. Otherwise this church will end before the End Time it has been preaching about.” Dennis, an Adventist, observed