Reverends Aaron and Erica Kenny
On Sunday, December 30th, we had the great joy of participating in the 70th Anniversary service of the African Christian Church and Schools, CBM's longest continuous partnership in Africa. It was an especially wonderful day for our family as we celebrated the ordination of Erica by the denomination.
It was such a high honor to have the ACC&S recognize Erica's gifts and call to ministry and for her to be invited to join the other 25 women being ordained. This was a historic day for the ACC&S and for CBM, as Erica is the first woman global field staff to have been ordained by a local partner in Africa.
Emma, Ava, and Tristan joining Erica at the ACC&S headquarters in Thika
Moderator Ngumo praying for the people of the ACC&S
to fulfill God's mission in Kenya
Aaron bringing greetings from CBM and sharing
about the rich history of our 48-year partnership
Erica with her fellow ordination candidates. In all 88 men and women were ordained to Christian ministry, the highest number ever ordained in a single ceremony by the ACC&S
Reverend Erica Nicole Kenny
Since Erica first came to Kenya in 2004 for the certificate of ministry program, she has had a close affinity with the ACC&S. That relationship deepened in 2006 when we moved as a family to Kenya and began to work with the denomination which had begun joint pioneer outreach among the Muslim people of Northeastern Kenya with Canadian Baptist missionaries in the early 1980s.
When Erica began to serve as CBM's coordinator for the Guardians of Hope HIV/AIDS ministry in 2009, she became very involved with the ACC&S and benefitted from the opportunity of working alongside dedicated leaders like Henry Mwangi and Patrick Maina who continue to give leadership to the outreach projects of the ACC&S.
Beyond church-based development and outreach programming, Erica became the embedded field staff working closely with the ACC&S within her role as co-Africa team leader. Over the past decade, she has fostered lasting bonds of trust, mutual learning, and cooperation with key executive leaders like Rev. Julius Karanja, Rev. Joseph Maina, Rev. Jeremiah Ngumo, and the current executive.
Erica with CBM executive director Rev. Dr. Terry Smith
visiting ACC&S congregations earlier this year
For almost five of these seven decades of ministry, the ACC&S has walked in partnership with CBM. Together we have worked to bear witness to the transforming love and hope of the Gospel through word and deed. In collaboration together we have sought to strengthen education, pastoral training, youth ministry, and women’s ministry. Together we have undertaken new ventures in urban ministry, joint pioneer outreach among Muslims, and responded to the needs of people affected and infected by HIV and AIDs. We continue today in joint efforts to increase food security and develop strong leaders for the future.
Aaron with past ACC&S moderator Rev. Samuel Mogo
It was through the invitation of the ACC&S that Canadian missionaries first came to Kenya. Unlike previous missions, the relationship with the ACC&S changed the way that Canadian Baptists came to understand and structure our international ministries by working in true partnerships of mutual learning and interdependence.
In 1967, that ACC&S leaders approached NCCK general secretary Rev. John Kamau and PCEA moderator Rev. John Gatu to help them to find an international church organization that might assist the ACC&S in achieving “our dreams and vision to accomplish the task of the great commission of our Lord.”
Gatu first recognized the potential compatibility between the Canadian Baptists and the ACC&S and made the initiative to engage the Canadian Baptist Overseas Mission Board. From 1968 to 1970, exploratory visits were arranged for Canadian leaders such as Orville Daniel, Abner Langley, and John Keith to meet with ACC&S representatives under the leadership of Rev. Samuel Mogo Mwangi (pictured above). During those three visits, the framework for a partnership of mutuality and equality was forged.
In December 1970, the first Canadian missionaries arrived in Kenya to serve under the framework of the new ACC&S/CBM task force. Among this group were Rev. Bill & Barbara Lewis, George & Eileen Johnston, Rev. Ronald & Joan Ward, Carol Oldstad, and Shirley Freckleton. The bonds of friendship that were formed during those early years have continued to this day.
In the 48 years that followed, many more Canadians came to serve among the ACC&S in various capacities from executive leaders and embedded field staff, to long-term volunteers and development specialists.
In speaking with CBM colleagues and the ACC&S there is a long list of Canadians who have played a significant part of this journey, including:
Rev. Dr. John & Virginia Keith, Ella Walker, Rev. Ian & Iona Hind, Rev. Ron & Marion Noble, Marilyn Lemon, Rev. Dr. Robert & Grace Berry, Rev. Bob & Ann Swann, Rev. Dr. Brian & Dr. Caryn Stelck, Rev. Anne Drost, Alan & Jane Ann Sears, Rev. Bryan Hagerman, Rev. Frank & Vera Burnham, Brock Carleton, Pamela Steeves, Jacques & Michele Godbout, Dr. Daniel Steeves, Rev. Hans and Graciela Ellen, David & Sandra Rempel, Jeff McCarrell, Nino & Esther De Luca, Rev. Eric & Merle MacKenzie, Jeanne Ratzlaff, Evelyn Ginson, Miss McCarthy, Mr. Dan & Doris Weibe, Rev. Rudy & Marny Pohl, Patrick Reid, Tim Ward, Donald & Peggy Bustin, Rev. Dr. Charles & Peggy French, Rev. Phil & Debbie Edwards, Dr. Gordon & Rolanda Barss, Margo Beaven, Rev. Bill & Joanne Morphett, Rev. Jim & Ruby Shephard, Rev. Dr. Paul & Mary Beckingham, Rev. Dr. Rob & Sarah Patterson, Rev. Paul & Kelly Carline, Brian & Lynda Malcolm, Rev. Dr. Doug & Cathie Loden, Mr. Eddie Chee, Rev. Phil & Ruth Brown, Muriel Bent, Marilyn Smith, Rev. Dr. Gary & Dr. Carla Nelson, Rev. Alden & Tracy Crain, Sam Mutisya, Dr. Ken & Diane Morgan, Rev. Andrew & Rebeccah DesRoches, Rev. Dr. Malcolm & Patricia Card, Timothy & Diane Bannister, Rev. Dr. Aaron & Erica Kenny, Mr. Yattani Gollo, Mrs. Ruth Munyao, Rev. Dr. Sam & Cindie Chase, Rev. Dr. Colin & Karen Godwin, Rev. Wayne & Maureen Morgan, Pauline Kariyuki, Rev. Dr. Terry & Heather Smith, and Rev. Andre Sibomana.
Beyond this list, there were hundreds of short-term volunteers, teachers, and development workers who have served among you as part of this partnership. If we have missed anyone, it is completely unintentional. If you have notice a name that is missing, please comment on this post and we will be sure to update the list.
Moderator Rt. Rev. Jeremiah Ngumo congratulating Erica on her ordination
Throughout these many years, we have grown in our understanding of God’s mission in the world because of our journey together. Thank you for the friendship and grace that has continued to foster a meaningful partnership between our people.