Celebration and color filled the Mama Ngina Girls High School in Mombasa, Kenya, that hosted the Tenth Africa Friends Pastors Conference. The five-day conference, which began on 26 December, 2022, attracted over 900 pastors from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Congo. It was sponsored by Friends United Meeting and planned by the superintendents of Yearly Meetings in Kenya. Other Quaker organizations that were represented during the conference included USFW-Kenya, Friends Church Kenya, Right Sharing of World Resources, Friendly Water for the World, Friends Theological College, and Friends World Committee for Consultation. There were also visiting Friends from New England Yearly Meeting and Earlham School of Religion.
The opening ceremony was marked by a cake-cutting celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary since the inception of the Pastors Conference, a journey that started in December 1997 at the Kenya Science Teachers Training College, in Nairobi.The opening ceremony was officiated by John Muhanji, Friends United Meeting’s African Ministries Director. In his speech he noted that this conference intends to make a significant turnaround in Quaker missions in Africa by seeking to address and redirect intentions around the call to pastoral ministry. The Pastors Conference puts together pastors, leaders, and theologians across Africa. It makes the Bible applicable to African culture and African issues through sermons and speeches, worship, and fellowship over meals.
The theme of the conference, “Partnering in the Body of Christ for Missions,” was drawn from Ephesians 4:4. Oliver Kisaka from the Christian Organizations Research and Advisory Trust of Africa (CORAT Africa) and a member of Friends International Centre-Nairobi, was the main speaker of the conference. Other speakers were John Muhanji, who presented on African Quakerism in missions; Professor Esther Mombo, who spoke about the role of women in missions; and Alphonse Kanga, who spoke about pastoral empowerment and personal care. There was also an opportunity to introduce missionaries, including Nicholas and Dorcas Otieno, FUM Living Letters missionaries to Tanzania; and Daniel Lentirangoi and Peter Lo’tengan, directors, respectively, of the FUM missions in Samburu and Turkana, Kenya. The conference provided a platform through which pastors were able to understand their role in missions and the impact of supporting missions.In addition to lessons on missions, conference participants had the opportunity to visit different excursion places and enjoy the coastal weather with sandy beaches. The event was a fulfilling break since the lockdown and other challenges associated with Covid-19.