Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rev. John Makokha, UMC Pastor and LGBT Rights Activist in Kenya to Speak in New York

On Tuesday, the 26th of October 2010, at 7:00 p.m., the Rev. John Makokha, will speak at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (UMC) located at 263 West 86th Street (West End Avenue).

Rev. Makokha is in the United States to meet in Ohio with the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church and is in New York at the invitation of the Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep, a cross denominational Christian ministry to LGBT persons, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. You can find out more about Other Sheep at:

This would be a great occasion for Integrity to learn about what is happening in Kenya and to support our fellow Christians as we all Believe Out Loud together.

The following article was submitted by Anne Baraza (John’s wife) and edited by Rev. Steve Parelli, Bronx, NY, Oct. 15, 2010.

"The Rev. John Makokha is senior pastor of Riruta UMC in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the African correspondent for Reconciling Ministries Network and the Country Coordinator of Other Sheep Kenya Trust, a faith-based LGBTI organization.

"John earned his B.Ed. Degree at the University of Nairobi and has served as graduate teacher in various high schools in Kenya. He was ordained a minister in the Triumphant Pentecostal Church and served as a pastor in a Free Methodist Church. After earning an M.A. degree in Missions at Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, he started Riruta United Methodist Church, the only Reconciling Ministry (RMN) in Africa. Anne Baraza, his wife, also a graduate of Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, is the Counselor for Other Sheep Kenya and the CEO of Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme.

"As Coordinator for Other Sheep Kenya, John passionately organizes and leads educational awareness seminars on human sexuality and gender identity throughout Kenya. Other Sheep Kenya addresses religious homophobia, transphobia, social justice, and HIV/AIDS in Kenya through capacity building and advocacy programs for LGBTI people and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Other Sheep Kenya engages in (1) promoting the recognition and solidarity of LGBT people through recruitment into the organization, counseling/information sharing, and networking; (2) participation in LGBTI activities in the country; (3) sharing information and experience between LGBT and PFLAG groups; (4) promoting the human rights of LGBTI through advocacy and campaigns; (5) training and mobilizing religious allies to win the war on homophobia and transphobia; (6) providing education, training and information on HIV/AIDS, care and treatment to the LGBTI community; (7) promoting reproductive health education; and (8) mitigating against gender based sexual violence and substance and drug abuse within the LGBTI community.

"Rev. Michael Kimindu, anglican priest, colleague and co-laborer with John and Anne in Kenya, is Other Sheep Coordinator for East Africa. Other Sheep has ministries in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. Other Sheep Kenya came into existence during the 2007 Kenya summer ministry program of Rev. Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz, Other Sheep Executive Director and Other Sheep Coordinator for Africa, respectively.

"If you are in NYC, or have friends who live here, we hope you will avail yourself of this unique opportunity - or tell your friends to do so - and come and learn about the wonderful work that is being accomplished in Kenya for sexual minorities in a faith-based context."

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