Kenya / Interview: Kenyan Anglican Archbishop's Right Hand Man Supports Gays

Published: May 9, 2011

Former Assistant to Archbishop Gitari Comes Out In Support Of Gays

What are your names and what do you do?

My names are Rev. Jepthath Gathaka (giving a business card), and am the Executive director of The Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace (ECJP). The ECJP is a programme of the Ecumenical Trust, which comprises inter-religious groups’ commited to working for peace through justice.

We seek to provide a forum for men and women of all walks of life to come together and bring about a just and peaceful society. We also believe in peaceful co-existence of all faiths.

Which church do you minister in?

A priest of the Anglican Church. I am still serving in the church but seconded to ecumenical centre for Justice and peace.

For how long have you been a pastor?

I have been a pastor since 1974 when I became a deacon, have served as a parish priest, as a personal assistant to bishop of the then diocese of Mt. Kenya East, headed by retired aArchbishop Gitari. I was also his director of communications for two years.

Many people know of Reverend Kimindu but may not know you, for how long have you been LGBTI supportive?

My understanding of Jesus saying “there are other sheep” convinces me that there are people who believe and are Jesus followers and may not necessarily those who confess the Christian religion. These people might also be of different sexual orientation and that gives me the mandate to minister and to love and to support to all.

Because of my little knowledge of understanding the bible and its inclusive language I would have been suspicious or not accommodative in the past, but my further understanding of the scriptures I find the bible to be very inclusive and non judgmental.

Many pastors who are gay supporting are mistreated by their churches. Have you ever been mistreated?

I have never been mistreated but mistreating others and being judgemental of those who are supportive [of LGBIT persons] is falling into what I would call biblical interpretation dishonest.

Please explain:

In this I mean, while those who are mistreating others understand very well that Jesus loved “sinners” but hated the sin, they therefore turn a blind eye on this. I do not say that LGBTI people are sinners but it is those who turn them as sinners – they should instead love as Jesus did. That means that even if you regard LGBTI persons as sinners, you are still obliged to love them, like Jesus did – there are no two ways about this.

Some people reading this article and know you, may start to mistreat you are you prepared for that?

Persecution is part the calling. Because Jesus said very well, as He says in Mark Chapter 10 you must also be ready for persecution. (He reaches out for his bible to check the exact quotation) – “it is Mark 10:30”

You may know of Bishop Senyonjo of Uganda, even though he is retired, the Anglican Church there does not allow him to preach, what would you do if they started mistreating you?

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