Wilson: Exley UMC assists Kenya Pastors’ School
August 2, 2019 / By Rev. John Loeser
In March 2019, I attended a doctoral peer group session at United Theological Seminary (UTS). Academic Dean, Dr. David Watson, spoke on the hardships that UM pastors in the Nairobi District of the Kenya-Ethiopia Annual Conference currently face. Pastors there lead churches with scarce financial resources. Unlike many U.S. churches that support their pastor’s theological education, most Kenya UM churches do not have money to fund pastor’s schooling. Some don’t have enough to pay pastor’s salaries. An added obstacle for Kenya pastors was the lack of a Kenya school for them to attend. That changed in April, 2018 when Nairobi District Superintendant Rev. Wilton Odongo opened the Wesleyan United Methodist Training College (WUMTC) in Nairobi.
Following Dr. Watson’s presentation at UTS, I asked how U.S. churches might assist the Nairobi pastors. Dr. Watson responded by connecting me with Rev. Odongo through WhatsApp on my Smartphone. The next day I spoke with Rev. Odongo and asked him to send me information on WUMTC and their needs. He sent me a document that included the mission and purpose of WUMTC, which says in part; “Despite Christians being a majority in many African communities, illiteracy, poverty, disease, conflict or war, human displacement and environmental degradation abound. With, the establishment of Wesleyan United Methodist Training College comes… part of the solution to the above assessed needs to have pastors and the lay leadership trained in ministry service to the society and management of the church.”
I asked Rev. Odongo how United Methodists in America might assist Kenya pastors to attend this school. He told me the college has three semesters per year, two weeks each that run in April, August, and December. Approximately 20 pastors are currently enrolled in WUMTC. The school needs approximately $2500 in aid per semester to help pay expenses. I shared this information with the Exley Lay leaders, and after several discussions Exley UMC agreed to fund expenses for the April 2019 semester. I then shared this information with an anonymous benefactor who agreed to fund expenses for the August 2019 semester.
Rev. Odongo also shared that several of his pastors did not have access to laptop computers, and the school needed a printer and video projector. I personally raised funds to meet these needs, and in July 2019 we were able to provide six pastors with used laptops. I also acquired a used video projector which I shipped to a fellow UTS student who took it (along with Bibles) to Kenya while on a mission trip.
Rev. Odongo has additional needs, and he is praying God will move more hearts of US church members to help. To learn more about the needs of this Kenya Pastors School, contact me, Rev. John Loeser, at 716-949-4930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.