We have been in partnership with the Kihumo Parish in Kenya since 2007. Several groups from Third Church have traveled to Kenya, and several delegations from the Kihumo Parish and Baraka Church have come to Rochester. We have an exchange every two years. Throughout this relationship, we have found our faith nurtured by the joyful example of our Kenyan partners.
What are the origins of the partnership?
The partnership formally began in 2007 after our former associate pastor, Rod Frohman, reached out to his Kenyan friend and theologian Timothy Njoya, to help help us connect with a Presbyterian congregation in Kenya. The Kihumo Church is a congregation located just 15 miles from downtown Nairobi and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. Since then, the parish has grown to add another congregation, the Baraka Church, which is thriving and joyful.
How has the partnership grown?
Travelers from Third Church continue to visit our brothers and sisters in Kenya and they come to visit us as well. These visits have resulted in greater understanding of each other’s culture and environment. The shared experiences of worship and fellowship have been a blessing to all. Between visits, communication continues between the people of Kihumo and Third Church, nurturing the relationship and the faith lives of both communities.
What projects have you undertaken with the Kihumo Parish?
Financial support from Third Church has assisted the Kihumo Parish in the construction and administration of their primary school, as well as repurposing a manse as a school for their older children. The school not only encourages education for local children, but also provides job opportunities for parish members. It is a potential source of income for the parish as enrollment grows with expansion. In the past, a goat project provided livestock to many members for an ongoing source of income and food. In addition, Third Church has donated funds to the East Africa Presbyterian University.
What are future plans for the partnership?
We continue to discern ways in which we will nurture this relationship because through it we believe we have all grown in faith. We have learned new ways to care for our members, different ways of doing outreach and evangelism, and have been inspired by the loving spirit of these people who praise God and dedicate their lives to Christ every day. We remember that we are all one people of God and continue to hold each other in prayer.