Hon.Dr. Kihara delivers his sermon at the International Gospel Church in Chelsea, MA
The Mwangaza band performs a song in Kiswahili during the Sunday sermon
By Harrison Maina
On Sunday, April 22 2007, East Africans congregated at The International Gospel Church, on Crescent Street, Chelsea, Massachusetts, to hear good tidings from a unique man of God. This messenger of God was Hon. Dr. Onesimus Kihara Mwangi, who also doubles as Member of Parliament, representing Kigumo Constituency, Central Province, Kenya.
Without the familiar surroundings of the typical African vibe, the churchgoers had the presence of Dr. Kihara, twice elected to the Kenyan parliament. Surprisingly, this man of God revealed to ajabuafrica.com that his successive election to the Kenya national assembly had been without the usual political strife, usually a common feature of most political campaigns in Kenya. He attributed his peaceful assumption of office to his faith in God. While serving his constituency, his compatriots fondly refer to him as ‘Bishop of the Parliament of Kenya.’ A professional surveyor, Dr. Kihara graduated from the University of Nairobi several years ago. He also holds a PhD in theology from the Esther Mallet International Bible University in Norwalk, California, USA.
Pastor Jareld Mlongecha, resident minister of The International Gospel Church, started off the service with prayers. He then added the introduction of guests. Pastor Mlongecha, who is well known to the Kenyan community in the American Diaspora, spends his time visiting and preaching in the Kenyan churches. He is revered as a champion of East African unity, through his inspired messages of hope. He is also well-known back in his motherland, where he lived and preached the word of God for many years, before he moved to the US.
In his sermon, the visiting Dr. Kihara thanked God for the good things that had continued to happen in East Africa, and especially in Kenya. Speaking in fluent Kiswahili, which surprised most Kenyans and Tanzanians in the congregation, Dr. Kihara relayed his greetings to the Kenyans, saying he had a lot of regards from their families and friends back home. He said that Kenya was making huge strides in economic, cultural, and political growth, and stressed that this was important for good neighborliness with counterparts, Uganda and Tanzania.
“Our government has continued to improve in every area, especially in tax revenue collection,” Dr. Kihara said. He said that in the previous year alone, the Government had collected over 400 billion Kenya shilling in tax revenue. Predicting success, Dr. Kihara said that the day was coming when Kenya would not need to borrow funds from foreign governments to finance its operations. He also told Kenyans that the government had continued to improve the infrastructure, especially in the rural areas, where developments like electrification, paving of roads, and clean water projects were being implemented. Dr. Kihara added that Kenya had also provided a safe haven for some neighbors, especially those afflicted by political turmoil. Citing the recent Southern Sudan peace accord signed in Nairobi, he expressed hope that measures such as these were good foundations for overall regional harmony.
“Although the Somali fighting factions have not found true peace yet, they signed a peace deal in Nairobi and formed a government. Hopefully, this will be able to bring lasting peace in this troubled part of Africa,” Dr. Kihara explained.
Using the bible as his reference point, Dr. Kihara said that many blessings awaited Kenyans in the Diaspora. He echoed the prophecies from the Bible, that the people of the lands South of Ethiopia would one day rise up to provide healing to the world.
“But you have to be first and foremost identified as a Christian, and put prayers ahead of everything else,” he said.
Unlike most setups of African people’s churches, which are usually, ethnically homogenous, The International Gospel Church is mainly Tanzanian, but brings together worshippers from the larger East African communities of Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Congo. The services use Kiswahili, the lingua franca of the greater East African nations, creating a nostalgic feel to the East Africans worshippers for their sunny motherland.
Worshippers were treated to various songs, performed by the fast-rising Mwangaza Gospel Band, under the leadership of Sammy Nkayamba, a Tanzanian who had lived both in Kenya and Tanzania. The band delivered Gospel tunes with an unmistakable African drumbeat, stirring memories of sweet African rhythms and raw energy. Unlimited, a newly-formed band, also performed Asante, their best hit from their new album. Ciiru, who works with communities in Dorchester, also doubled as the lead composer and manager for Unlimited.
The hosting minister, Pastor Mlongecha, asked Africans to learn from the Americans on how to nurture and promote talent, which he said was in abundance among East Africans in the Diaspora. He lamented the sluggish tendency among the majority of African people, when it came to identifying and promoting their own talent. He cautioned African people against the tendency to shy away from promoting their own businesses, in favor of western-oriented practices.
To illustrate his dedication to African talent, Pastor Mlongecha cited the presence of Mwangaza Band, whose Gospel tunes were imbued with an African flavor. He said that the unique musical aspects of this band made it a formidable force for any western music compatriots. Pastor Mlongecha prayed for the motherland electorate, invoking God to lead them in all future election processes. He prayed for the election of more God-fearing Members of Parliament, who would influence their home governments into more responsibility for their people. He cited the Burundi President, who he said was an exemplary born-again Christian dedicated to good governance.
EaUnited News, © 2007
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