REPORTS
Gay and Christian in
KENYA, UGANDA,
TANZANIA, RWANDA
AND BURUNDI
_________________________________________
From: Steve Parelli [mailto:sparelli2002@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 9:34 AM
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: Other Sheep Second Week In Kenya Report

Other Sheep

Our Second Week in Kenya Summary Report (Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz)
Sunday, July 15, through Saturday, July 21

What Was Accomplished

  • Four discussion groups with LGBTs were held in our apartment (Tuesday and Thursday PM;
    Wednesday and Thursday AM)
  • AN HISTORIC EVENT FOR LGBTs & the Religious Community:  15+ individuals met with a
    religious leader of the community for an “active listening dialogue.”  Report attached. (Wed. PM)
  • A precious meeting:  Steve and Jose take Emanuel Kamau’s mother and aunt to lunch with an
    IshtarMSM (our host LGBT organization) member and discuss with them starting a PFLAG
    chapter in Nairobi.  (His mother has received threats of some kind since Emanuel came out over
    the airwaves in February)
  • MEDIA:  Steve and Jose are guests to “The Big Breakfast” radio talk show (guests speak
    between traffic report, music, and a news break; listeners call in with questions).  Two follow up
    articles in the radio’s newspaper Nairobi Star (Wed. paper and Friday paper).  Nairobi Star is not
    the leading newspaper in Nairobi; it is a new paper, smaller in size, but respected we are told as
    a viable paper.  The radio show is a #1 show in Nairobi.  Steve answered two Bible questions/
    comments on homosexuality over the airwaves:  the creation story and I Cor. 6:9, and other
    questions.  This radio opportunity was arranged for us by Peter Njoroge who is acting director of
    IshtarMSM.
  • First informal meeting for the purpose of forming Other Sheep East Africa.  Three individuals met
    with Steve and Jose on Saturday evening in our apartment.  Objectives were discussed and
    plans were laid to mover forward.  A second meeting was scheduled for this Thursday.  
  • A Monday evening phone-calling session with Peter and David of Ishtar in our apartment.  Open
    house to others who passed through
  • Attended (Sunday) the Anglican Cathedral Church in Nairobi and spoke with three clergy of the
    church
  • Socializing:  Friday night meeting new LGBTs while visiting two bar-food establishments with
    Ishtar members (Fri)
  • Individual meetings

  • Rev. (Major, retired navy chaplain) Michael Nzuki Kimindu, attached clergy of St. Luke’s
    Parish (Anglican) contacted us by phone (Fri afternoon) and scheduled a meeting (Sat.) in
    which he shared with us his openly pro stance for LGBTs within the Anglican community
    (which has cost him dearly).  He is a member of the Kenya Christian Community
    Development Initiatives (K.C.C.D.I.), recently organized.  Executive Director is Rev. James
    Mutunga (Anglican).  One of the stated objectives of KCCDI is to start churches in East
    Africa that are gay welcoming and affirming.  Rev. Kimindu’s email address is
    mnk240@yahoo.com  (Sat.)
  • A seeking individual from the Sudan (Monday)
  • A media person who discussed with us the difficulties of bringing the topic of
    homosexuality into the media and the need for the media to have credible information on
    homosexuality (to educate the media).  We shared with him the Blue Book – “What We
    Wish We Had Known”  www.pcmk.org (Sat.)
  • Teacher of St. Francis Orphanage who will connect us with an orphanage here that will
    receive a gift of Beanie Babies from a church in the States.  We carried this gift with us.
    (Fri.)

Comments and Observations

  • Many individuals, straight and gay, have expressed interest in starting a PFLG.  We hope to
    address that more closely this week

  • Discussion groups on faith and being gay have been the focal point of what is happening here
    for Other Sheep these past two weeks; Kenya is a very religious country; faith is an integral part
    of most LGBTs life experiences; most of the LGBTs that we have met have a significant story
    around faith and being gay; Ishtar leaders (the organization that is hosting Other Sheep) report
    that LGBTs are reporting back to them that to have a place to meet and to share their stories
    (including their faith stories) with each other has had been very encouraging and significant,
    energizing, solidarity – you name it (How would you feel!); many attendees have had and still do
    have strong ties and even active leadership roles in their church (one former Bible teacher;
    former choir members and one former choir leader; one current deacon and youth leader; two
    current Catholic brothers, i.e., practicing in an order now; etc).

  • There are surprises within in the discussion groups:  The biggest surprise this week was when a
    gay young person (the last to testify in a group of about 7and 8) said he came out to his parents
    (some time back) and that they had both accepted him without reservation.  He said he had
    expected them to “kill” him.  He was completely surprised and so were the group members.  This
    is not the firs time in the discussion groups that an LGBT has said that parents are accepting.  
    The impression here in Kenya is a stereotoipical one that ALL parents will reject LGBT children.

  • Jose and I often talk to strangers on the street (discreetly; not when gays would be exposed)
    when we are moving from place to place.  The following strangers that we have met and their
    comments over the past two weeks:  (1) A high school teacher:  “How refreshing to hear men tell
    the truth about themselves;” (2) Taxi driver:  “I attend a Pentecostal church where my preacher
    preachers against homosexuality.  I don’t agree with him.  I’m straight but I have three gay friends
    that have come out to me and I completely accept him.”  (3) Business man (banker) #1:  “No one
    has ever spoken with me about homosexuality in a theological context like you are doing.”  (4)
    Business man #2 (sells cell phones) after engaging him on the topic of Sodom and Gomorrah
    and why that isn’t about homosexuality: “Here’s my business card.  Please email me more
    information about what the Bible says about homosexuality.”  (5) Stranger who turned out to be a
    social worker (bus conversation):  “I’m so glad guys like you are here in Kenya.  As a social
    worker I support gays in Kenya.  Let’s exchange contact information.” (6) Sitting next to a
    stranger reading an article on Freedom of Speech from a leading newspaper in Nairobi and
    telling him that I’m meeting gays here in Kenya that are afraid to speak out – that freedom of
    speech doesn’t apply to them.  His comment:  “More and more freedom of speech is coming.  It is
    here.  One can speak out.”  (He did NOT say:  we don’t want to hear from that populace!).  
    LGBTs are afraid to speak out and for good reason.  One can loose his job or be discriminated
    against.  Family may eject a person from the home (we know of a mother of a gay who was
    ejected from living with her brother because the gay son was openly gay.)

  • LGBTs in Kenya need to find safe ways to tell their stories; this begins by telling their stories to
    each other in a safe place; then inviting into their circle members of society whom they can trust
    to hear their story; then to tell their stories amorously to a wider audience:  churches, schools,
    universities, media (and in some of these situations to be able to tell their stories anonymously).

  • The interest to continue to address the interplay of the spiritual/religious/faith and homosexuality
    after Other Sheep (Steve and Jose) return to the States is very high.  This is no doubt because
    LGBTs as a community are very religious.  Ishtar leaders and others have emphasized the need
    to formulate an organization that will exist to address the spiritual needs and concerns of Kenyan
    LGBTs and that this would be an ongoing component of gay activism in East Africa.  

Ishtar Leaders

    None of what has been accomplished in the past two weeks would have occurred with out the
    leadership and membership of IshtarMSM.  Peter Njoroge email pnjoro2002@yahoo.com  and
    David Obonyo email deob2000@yahoo.com are hosting and leading Other Sheep.  Emmanuel
    Kamau, founder and director, is still in the United States.  Steve and Jose want to express our
    thanks to Peter Njoroge and David Obonyo for their daily work with Other Sheep.  The
    discussion groups are happening because Peter and David are personally phoning the
    membership of Ishtar and inviting them to participate.  In many cases, David meets up with us
    and gets us to meeting places.

    We are deeply grateful for their work and support and for the general work and support of others
    who are not Ishtar members but are associated with members of Ishtar.

    A disclaimer:  Unfortunately the Nairobi Star in writing up a news article based on “The Big
    Breakfast” talk show that featured Steve and Jose, reported the following morning in their
    newspaper (associated with the radio KISS FM 100) that GALCK was sponsoring Other Sheep.  
    It should be noted that Peter Njoroge who accompanied us to the radio station and who sat with
    us for the initial conversation with the radio host expressly stated that Other Sheep was here by
    invitation of Ishtar.  The radio host wrote Ishtar down on her notes and verbally announced over
    the radio airwaves that Ishtar was the hosting organization of Other Sheep.  How it got in the
    papers the following day incorrectly as GALCK is of course a problem with journalism.  The
    picture featured in the newspaper of Steve and Jose was taken from the Steve and Jose’s
    website (www.othersheepexeciste.com).  No interview was given with the paper per se; the paper
    used the radio talk show from which to get their material for an article.  

Our phone number while in Kenya:  0721 800 774

Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz

Contact Information
Rev.* Steve Parelli, MDiv
Executive Director, Other Sheep
2962 Decatur Ave., 5D, Bronx NY 10458
(office/home) 718-360-0884
http://www.othersheep.org

sparelli2002@yahoo.com

Other Sheep (Multicultural Ministries with Sexual Minorities)
is an ecumenical, Christian organization working world
wide in an ever-expanding variety of languages, cultures
and LGBT concerns, to share the good news that God
loves all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons just as they are and calls them into inclusive, gay-affirming,
Christian communities.

*Defrocked for openly being gay and for entering into a committed gay relationship.
STEVE AND JOSE REPORT ON THEIR MINISTRY IN KENYA, JULY 8, - August 4, 2007

    Second Week Report, Sunday, July 15 - Saturday, July 21, 2007


    STEVE AND JOSE REPORT ON THEIR MINISTRY IN KENYA & UGANDA, JULY 8 - August 24, 2007

Nairobi, Kenya, apartment complex
where Steve and Jose stayed

    VISIT Steve and Jose!
    Visit the Other Sheep web site of  the Executive
    Director, Steve Parelli (at right in photo), and his
    partner Jose Ortiz.
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Meet us
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acacia tree
This website was constructed in July of 2007
Visits made to this web page since August 2007
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