Summer in Kapsabet (A Kenyan Dioceses)

Lewis Eden, Ordinand at Cranmer Hall

St Paul’s Theological College

During the summer of 2019, I was able to visit the Diocese of Kapsabet in Kenya, as part of preparing for Anglican ministry at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham. During this placement I was able to explore different parts of the massive parish in which I was placed, containing around 12 churches and a missionary area. The parish priest had many jobs that he would not have been able to do on his own, therefore it is good that there are many lay readers within the parish.

I was able to explore different parts of the massive parish in which I was placed, containing around 12 churches and a missionary area.

Whilst out there I got to experience what it is like to be both a parish priest in Kenya and a theological student as well, as I went to St Paul’s Theological College twice a week. Both of these experiences were really useful, as I was able to make comparisons between how parishes work in the UK and Kenya, and how theological training is led at Cranmer Hall and at St Paul’s. Fundamentally, there are a lot of differences between what is required and done in the UK and in Kenya – these differences make it very interesting.

One of the differences between our two countries is the way that we give gifts and the reasons why we give them. Whilst in Kenya, I received many gifts, a mixture of packable things and things that were alive, like chickens. I was given these gifts as a token of the community’s appreciation of the fact that I went out and stayed with them for a month. But also, because they wanted to say thank you for opening and sharing the word of God with them and for being a willing person – I did seriously consider trying to take the chickens back, allowing them to roam free on Linton Lawn!

Lewis being gifted a chicken.

Fundamentally, although I was given a variety of different gifts, I able to explore what ministry is like and the pastoral aspects of it, to experience another culture, which helped with my preaching skills (I preached for four Sundays in a row, that was either a blessing or a curse). I was challenged on the things I take for granted, like clean running water and on-demand utilities. We had continuous rolling blackouts and were reliant on gas bottles to cook and on the availability of men and women to do every job around the home (there were definitely gender stereotypes of home roles). I was challenged on what I believe regarding this, but it wasn’t my place to speak into those situations.

I able to explore what ministry is like and the pastoral aspects of it, to experience another culture, which helped with my preaching skills

Overall, this was a worthwhile experience that I will no doubt keep reflecting upon for years to come. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who is training for ministry. This would not have been possible without funding from St John’s College.

Photographs by Lewis Eden

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