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OCMC News - The Humble Beginnings of the St. Moses the African House Church

by Niko Birbilis (Posted 2/22/2019)

OCMC News - The Humble Beginnings of the St. Moses the African House Church
The house church of St. Moses the Black was established by OCMC Missionary Dr. Bill Black and Fr. Ioannis from Kakamega, This growing Orthodox parish is the first in Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city.

With so many beautiful churches setting the stage for most of Christian history, it can be easy to forget the humble beginnings of our sacred worship spaces. Before Christians could legally own property to build churches, however, worship took place right inside people’s homes.

Although most of us are able to worship in ornate churches today, Orthodox Christians around the world continue to worship in simple house churches too, as the Faith continues to spread and grow. In those places, it almost feels like being back in the New Testament epoch of the Church.

The St. Moses the African church in Kisumu, Kenya, is one such example of a modern-day house church. Since Kisumu - the 3rd largest city in Kenya - did not yet have a single Orthodox parish, OCMC Missionary Dr. Bill Black made plans to establish a community with a house church, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Athanasios of blessed memory.

Dr. Black worked together with Father Ioannis from Kakamega to establish the St. Moses the African parish community, and they invited as many people as they could. Their first service was Palm Sunday 2018, with only 5 people present. It was a great help when the bishop ordained Fr. Hierotheos James Mukuria and assigned him to this parish, and one by one the community has continued to grow since then. One young woman invited her friends, several of whom continue to come and participate, and a number of children from the area where Fr. Hierotheos James lives have been coming to the church as well.

In addition to Sunday Liturgy, they have also been organizing fellowship gatherings on Wednesday nights, meeting in different people’s homes. This has proved effective in engaging people with their ministry outside Sunday services. In recent weeks they have seen more than 20 crowd into Dr. Black’s living room for the Divine Liturgy. Glory to God, they are hoping to baptize 10-15 on Holy Saturday before Pascha!

This parish community is still quite new, but through just a patient offering of services, more and more have found their way to this simple house church. These are the fruits of being faithful stewards of the Gospel treasure, and it’s exciting to follow the early development of this house church. Please keep the community of St. Moses the African in your prayers.

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Prayer for Missions

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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