Ministering to Nairobi’s Gays and Lesbians

Rev. John Makokha, the founder and Senior Pastor at the Riruta Hope Community Church, and his wife Anne Baraza (Religion News Service photo by Fredrick Nzwili)

Alarmed by the number of members of the clergy resorting to hate, oppression and discrimination against gays and lesbians, one pastor has opened the doors of his church to Nairobi’s outcasts. The Rev. John Makokha is risking his position and reputation by welcoming gays and lesbians into the Riruta Hope Community Church, but feels he has no choice.

The Kenyan penal code regards homosexuality as a crime, and Christian and Muslim clergy speak clearly and forcefully against it. In this environment, Makokha ministers to sexual minorities and counsels family members who find their loved ones’ sexual orientation disturbing.

Advertisement

His passion is to see an end to what he calls “religious homophobia”; this requires reaching out to other religious leaders. To that end, he runs educational awareness seminars on human sexuality and gender identity. 

“Gays and lesbians are children of God and created in his image,” Makokha said. “They should be accepted and affirmed as such. They deserve a place to worship and serve God.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

An official wedding photo of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, center, in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England. Others in photo from left, back row, Jasper Dyer, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Doria Ragland, Prince William; center row, Brian Mulroney, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Rylan Litt, John Mulroney; front row, Ivy Mulroney, Florence van Cutsem, Zalie Warren, Remi Litt. (Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP)
A poll found that 66 percent of the British public declared they were not interested in the Windsor wedding.
David StewartMay 23, 2018
God simply is a triad of love: a going out in love, a return in love and thus, ever more, love itself.
Terrance KleinMay 23, 2018
The leaders sent a letter to President Donald Trump, administration officials and members of Congress.
Altar servers lead a Palm Sunday procession March 25 in Youtong, in China's Hebei province. (CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)
The pope appeared to be alluding to the fact that since February there has been a crackdown by the Chinese authorities on religion in the mainland.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 23, 2018