There is a lone voice in the wilderness. But is anyone listening?
At the start of 2021, Kenyan media houses developed a sudden interest in the Sunday sermons delivered at Nairobi’s All Saints Cathedral. They religiously sent camera crews over– not to cover politicians speaking at the church as is standard practice – but to record the seemingly unorthodox preaching of Reverend Canon Sammy Wainaina, the Cathedral’s Provost.
The seeming unusualness in Rev. Wainaina’s delivery emanates from the fact that the Provost’s interpretation of the gospel isn’t hypothetically but is grounded in the context of the goings on in the country today – from grand corruption to political conmanship and brinkmanship.
Expectedly, these hard hitting sermons have ended up trending on social media, almost always accompanied by messages of support for the Provost. In a country where churches have become convenient playgrounds for politicians – they show up, make a donation without disclosing the source of their money before they are either prayed for or given an opportunity to attack their opponents from the pulpit, or both – Rev. Wainaina’s forthrightness seems revolutionary.
And so whether one agrees or disagrees with either the style or substance of the Provost’s anti-establishment message, it is undeniable gauging from the overwhelming support he continues to receive both online and offline from Kenyans of all walks of life that at a time of political and economic darkness such as this, the country is finding light from the All Saints Cathedral.
By using his Sunday platform to speak to the nation’s conscience, the Provost is following in the great tradition of distinguished men of the cloth who came before him including Archbishop Manasses Kuria, Archbishop Ndingi Mwana ‘a Nzeki, Bishop Henry Okulu, Bishop Alexander Muge, Rev. Timothy Njoya, among others, all of whom stood up to autocracy, some paying with their limbs while others lay down their lives for their beliefs.
Much as he will attract the wrath of the status quo, the Provost should rest easy knowing he is on the right side of history.