The new Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, Benjamin Mwanzia Nzimbi, demonstrated his clear vision and determination during his enthronement on 22 September. Speaking of the vision and mission of the church he expressed how it is the job of its leaders to see it strengthened and transformed.
One of the areas that the archbishop focussed on was the pandemic of HIV/AIDS. "We are living with AIDS," he said. "As the body of Christ…we share the pain of those that suffer as a result of HIV/AIDS." It is no secret that millions of Africans have been living with the epidemic and the stigma that surrounds it. Until recently there has been little hope of justice.
In his speech at All Saints Cathedral and in the presence of the President and high ranking government officials and diplomats, Archbishop Nzimbi faced up to the fundamental issues that have been the true cause of the problems. "We confess our sins of judgement, ignorance, silence and denial," he said. "We believe that we are given the freedom to choose, to love and live in dignity and to delight in God's creation. In this, the Anglican Church of Kenya is committed to breaking the silence of denial, eradication of the virus and reducing the suffering of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS."
He continued by reiterating the church's commitment to 'vision and mission', drawing up a strategic plan with six objectives in order to achieve this. The plan included a curriculum for theological institutions preparing clergy for ministry, reducing the stigma and discrimination and improving the training of church workers.
"We know that HIV/AIDS is not a punishment from God, that stigma is a denial that we are created in the image of God," he said. "As a result it destroys self-esteem, decimates families and disrupts communities' hopes."
Other key areas that the archbishop addressed included the challenges of poverty, ignorance and diseases, families and fellowships, ecumenism and the political situation in Kenya.