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OCMC News - Orthodoxy Among the Turkana

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 4/9/2010)

Traditional Turkana beliefs center around the worship of a single deity named Akuj. The Turkana offer animal sacrifices to Akuj so that he will send the rains. Turkana spiritual leaders are called Emuron. Emuron serve as Turkana shaman. They dictate when sacrifices should be made to Akuj. They also serve as a prophet giving the people of the village warning of impending draught or threats from cattle raiders.

Evangelistic efforts of charismatic preachers have planted the seeds of Orthodoxy among a handful of Turkana in Lodwar. Two of these men (Fr. Vladimir and Fr. Zachariah) attended seminary in Nairobi and are now serving as Orthodox priests in this arid northern region of Kenya. Recently another Orthodox priest (Fr. Makarios) was ordained. These three men pastor 5 Orthodox communities in Turkanaland. The church in Lodwar is the only one with a permanent building. Liturgies for the other communities are held under acacia trees. The Lodwar community also has a primary school.

These Orthodox priests, and the handful of catechists that they have trained, are working to plant the Church elsewhere among the Turkana. OCMC’s efforts in northern Kenya are striving to empower these clergy and church leaders by supporting their evangelistic efforts.

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God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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