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From: Other Sheep East Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Report on July 7-9 Other Sheep Kenya Seminar
Date: Sent July 15, 2008, from Nairobi, Kenya, through Constant Contact, Other Sheep eNews server
Other Sheep East Africa eNews, July 15, 2008
Other Sheep Kenya Seminar: A Report
by Rev. John Makokha and Steve Parelli
July 15, 2008, Nairobi, Kenya
The ethos of any religion is honesty with
GOD and honesty with oneself. Integrity is the business that every human being
must undertake and in doing so, becomes a pilgrim who
finds meaning and satisfaction in life by searching out and doing truth. On July
7-9, I was privileged to share a room with pilgrims who seek truth. I wouldn't mind
having them as mansion mates someday in Heaven where all will be at rest in Him, the source of all truth."
The above remark was made by an anonymous seminar attendee
Dear Other Sheep Friend,
Other Sheep Kenya, in conjunction with Other Sheep, hosted a three-day
seminar on Christianity and homosexuality for the gay community, clergy and
laity, and family and friends of gays and lesbians. The participants attended
workshops on various topics regarding discrimination, rejection and ignorance
in the church and society as it pertains to sexual orientation. The seminar was
held in the Arkland Hotel, Nairobi, July 7-9. Six different speakers lead a total
of 12 workshops. 18-24 participants attended per day. No clergy attended.
Some clergy, who had said they would attend, later said they were afraid to
attend for fear of being stigmatized by the religious community.
The following report was written by Rev. John Makokha, UMC minister and
Other Sheep Kenya Coordinator, and Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other
Editor's note: In this issue of Other Sheep eNews you will find the word "Bible"
written in the lower case as "bible." This is intended for effect. In regards to the
issue of homosexuality, it is time for the churches of Kenya to lay the Bible
aside for a while -- make it "bible" for a while -- and seriously consider other
sources, including accepting theologians, non-religious disciplines, and the
testimonies of gay Kenyan Christians who have the Word of God written in their
|Other Sheep is an ecumenical Christian ministry that works for the full inclusion of LGBT people of faith
within their respective faiths worldwide.
" . . . connecting people with people and people with resources . . . "
|Other Sheep | 16768 Old Jamestown Road | Florissant | MO | 63034
|5. Parelli: On government, homosexual laws and religious liberty: "The question is -- who
gets to choose what is right -- the church, the state or the individual?"
In another session, Parelli spoke on government and law making and the place of religion in a
democracy. He said government is the government of all the people, that government must not make
laws based on any one religious teaching. The bible's supposed teachings against homosexuality cannot
be grounds for civil laws. It is the government's mandate to guard the liberties of all its citizens, religious
and irreligious, and not to legislate into law the teachings of any one faith or any one religious institution.
Otherwise, government has limited the liberty of the individual in matters of faith and practice. Parelli said
homosexuality is primarily a religious question. Parelli said the question is not is homosexuality right or
wrong; the question is who gets to decide if homosexuality is right or wrong: the government, the church,
or the individual? Parelli said the individual gets to decide; not the church, not the government -- that's
8. Makokha: Homophobia is the problem. Coming together to educate is the answer.
Rev. John Makokha, United Methodist minister and Other Sheep Kenya Coordinator, said the continent of
Africa is on fire because of homophobia. Clergy, poorly grounded in theology and sexuality, and
homophobic evangelical curriculum taught in theological schools, have escalated the crisis. "There
should be some deliberate attempt to institute a training facility for clergy and laity on issues of the bible
and sexuality. There should be some serious discourse on this subject with open doors, open hearts and
He said Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodist Church), Integrity USA (Episcopal), Changing
Attitude UK (Anglican), More Light (Presbyterian), Dignity (Catholic), Soulforce and others should join
hands and work together under the umbrella of Other Sheep in addressing homophobia in Africa. "We are
not going to win this battle if we are divided on denominational lines. Homophobia knows no boundaries of
denominations. There is dire need in Africa for more partnership with other LGBT organizations locally
9. Wanyama: Speaking as a gay Anglican layperson: "We are not a lesser people."
Peter Wanyama, an active Anglican layperson, said that as children of God, gays need to benefit from
spiritual growth just like heterosexuals. "We pray that the stigma, due to homophobia, will be removed
from our society; that gays will be seen as normal human beings who function normally, who have feelings,
and need understanding. We need to be loved as God's children. God is love."
He said, speaking as a gay man, "We are not a lesser people in society." He said there are many gay
people in high offices, the church, and education. They do not identify as gay people because they are
afraid and do not want to be marked and marginalized. He asked, "How long will gays and lesbians be in
attends the Nairobi