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Wang’ombe’s Receipt Of The Mantle Adds A New Twist Into The AIPCA’s Leadership Row.

The new AIPCA Archbishop Fredrick Wang’ombe ( centre, holding crozie) being introduced to the faithful at AIPCA Bahati Cathedral in Nairobi by the Retired Archbisop Amos Kabuthu.
As the African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa’s (AIPCA) grapples with one of its biggest leadership wrangles in decades, the retirement of Archbishop Amos Mathenge Kabuthu and the consequent handing over of the instruments of power to the new ‘Archbishop-Elect’ Fredrick Wang’ombe on Sunday added a new twist into the mix.

Bishop Wang’ombe’s elevation to head the church follows a similar one by a rival group that installed Bishop Julius Njoroge Gitau as the archbishop on 9th January 2017. Njoroge is scheduled to be officially consecrated this Friday, throwing the AIPCA faithful around the country into further confusion.

In a very colourful ceremony held in the AIPCA Cathedral in Bahati Estate Nairobi County, the retired archbishop handed over to his successor, his official veil, mitre, pallium and crozier to symbolise Wang’ombe’s new role as the ‘Good Shepherd’ who would govern, correct those below him, offer support to the weakest of the weak as he lead the AIPCA faithful along the path of salvation.

“This is the official regalia that the founding spiritual head of the AIPCA Archbishop Benjamin Kahihia passed on to Archbishop Gaitho as a symbol of the apostolic succession. Archbishop Gaitho then handed them over my predecessor The Late Archbishop Ndung’u who likewise passed on the baton to. Just like Moses did it to Joshua, I am hereby handing over this mantle to Bishop Wang’ombe whom I trust that will lead the church to the Promised Land. Any other person purporting to give out AIPCA leadership mantle is a fake and an imposter,” said Archbishop Kabuthu.

The retired clergy reckoned that he has had a very difficult three years with his adversaries with his only crime being his age. Otherwise, he publicly forgave them and wished the church would unite under the new archbishop.

He said that Archbishop Wang’ombe would be officially consecrated in broad daylight at the Kasarani Stadium.

In his acceptance speech, new archbishop promised to constitute a tribunal to arbitrate between the two warring factions in the pursuit for some reconciliation.

“To my brothers on the other side, ‘come. Let’s sit down and we reason together, says the Lord,’” said the new archbishop.
Archbishop-Elect Fredrick Wang'ombe making his maiden speech at AIPCA Bahati after being announced the new spiritual head.

He declared that this was their year of redemption and victory and that all needed to sacrifice for the unity of the church.

Archbishop Wang’ombe was voted into office on Friday 3rd February 2017 in Nyeri by 18 out of the church’s 22 dioceses.

According to the AIPCA constitution, he will have to wait for 45 days before he is officially consecrated and assume the full responsibilities as the spiritual head of the AIPCA Church. During this period, the clergy and the faithful will embark on a prayer session to dedicate his new ministry unto God.

The church central board will convene a meeting on Wednesday the 8th of February 2017 to plan for the consecration and the way forward in the church.

The tussle three-year legal between the Retired Archbishop Kabuthu and the rival faction led by its National Chairman Paul Gichu has seen over 24 cases in court, threatening to tear it apart.

The church has over two million membership in its 1,578 branches across the country.       

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