From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Kobia in Kenya: "Easter liberates us from fear"

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Wed, 14 Apr 2004 16:08:18 +0200

World Council of Churches
Update UP-04-19
For Immediate Use
14 April 2004

Kobia visits Kenya: "Easter liberates us from fear"

Free photos available, see below.
Cf. Press Release PR-04-04 of 5 April 2004
Cf. News Update UP-04-18 of 8 April 2004

In a world that seems to have become a prisoner of fear, the
message of Easter is highly relevant today according to Rev. Dr
Samuel Kobia. 

On the first leg (8-15 April) of his first visit to Africa as
WCC general secretary, Kobia was speaking on Easter Sunday at the
Lavington United Church in Nairobi, Kenya. The second leg of the
WCC visit will take Kobia to Rwanda (16-18 April).

"Today we are living a broken world. A world where violence has
reached most threatening proportions," he told the Lavington
congregation. And the consequence, he said, is that "humanity has
become a hostage of fear". 

Noting that the start, the combattants and the end of wars were
easier to determine in the past, Kobia pointed out that "victims
of today's violence are more often civilians, particularly women
and children". In addition, nuclear proliferation causes enormous
fear, while people have become more security-conscious than ever

Recalling Jesus' words after his resurrection, "Be not afraid,
you have nothing to fear", he noted that the Easter message
points to the fact that, through his resurrection, Jesus Christ
has conquered death and also the "great curse" of fear.

Kobia also addressed the situation in Kenya, his home country.
"Kenyans always wanted a leadership whom they could trust with
governing this country. They got it, but suddenly, they are
afraid of what might happen if internal squabbles continue to
intensify to a point where things fall apart," he said. 

A former general secretary of the National Council of Churches
of Kenya (NCCK), Kobia advised politicians to "refrain from their
self-serving enterprises", and to "stop the wrangling, get their
act together and get down to implementing their campaign promises
to the benefit of all Kenyans". 

Rape of children: a spiritual matter

Earlier, at a press conference held shortly after his arrival,
the WCC general secretary had addressed the increasing incidence
in Kenya and much of Africa of the rape of children. 

This trend is "an abomination to the sanctity of life, an open
disgrace to God and the human community," he said. The abuse and
molestation of children "is a grave crime, whose impact will have
deep consequences in the soul and psyche of generations to come,"
he added. 

Kobia pointed out that in Africa "we have always had a sacred
regard for children as a gift from God.  It is not only
un-African but also inhuman to see how the African girl child is
helpless in the hands of rapists and murderers."

Rape as a weapon of war "is not just an issue which can be faced
with legal retribution, but must also be understood as a
spiritual matter," he stressed, adding that the worth of any
given society is shown in "the way it treats the most vulnerable
among its people, especially children".  

100 days in office

Last Saturday, Kobia marked his first 100 days as WCC general
secretary by visiting his home and joining a festive celebration
of Kianjai villagers in Meru district, some 200 kilometres east
of Nairobi.  Celebrating a unique achievement by one of their
own, the villagers greeted Kobia with ululations and prayers,
songs and poems.

"I felt that as I started my official visits, I should go back
to my roots and receive blessing from my parents," Kobia
commented after the celebration. 

The same spirit prevailed at the Lavington United Church in
Nairobi, which for 10 years had been Kobia's church.  "Being
re-united with my congregation is simply empowering and
energizing," he commented at the end of the Easter service, which
was presided over by the Kenyan Methodist presiding bishop
M'Impwii Stephen Kanyaru. 

Originally expected to be part of the WCC delegation visiting
Kenya and Rwanda, the WCC central committee moderator, His
Holiness Catholicos Aram I, was finally unable to join the

Free high-resolution photos of the visit available at:

An interview with Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia on the occasion of his
first 100 days in office is available at:

For further information, please contact Juan Michel, WCC  media
relations officer,  tel: +41 22 791 6153, mobile +41 79 507 6363,  


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches,
now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from
virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is
not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The
highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately
every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general
secretary Samuel Kobia from the Methodist Church in Kenya.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

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