Cosmopolitan Affirming Community: Inside the Secret Church That Welcomes LGBTQ Members In Nairobi 1

Cosmopolitan Affirming Community: Inside the Secret Church That Welcomes LGBTQ Members In Nairobi

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Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgender community (LGBTQ) in Nairobi gather to fellowship at Cosmopolitan Affirming Community. Some people have left their churches because people told them that they couldn’t serve God and still be members of the Rainbow community. At this popular church, they have found solace.

The church started as a young fellowship comprising six members of the LGBTQ community who were trying to understand spirituality. Their website stipulates that they met Bishop Joseph W. Tolton, Radically Inclusive, a queer pastor. Bishop Joseph helped to mentor and teach them thus growing the church to be one of Kenya’s inclusive churches for the LGBTQ community.

According to Mawejje Sulah, the Secretary of The Nature Network, an organization for LGBT refugees, the church humanized his experience as a member of the LGBTQ. He said,
“Their messages are about inclusivity and giving hope which is different from other churches that use the Bible to discriminate against gay people like me or people in the LGBTIQ community. This church comforts people, and it makes us understand that even though we are gay, we are loved by God, and we have every right to praise God.”

Cosmopolitan Affirming Community: Inside the Secret Church That Welcomes LGBTQ Members In Nairobi 2

Gay activist Joji Baro who was the church’s communications director revealed in a past interview that the move to open their church was fuelled by the discrimination that lesbians and gays face in the other churches. He said,
“Other churches don’t welcome us, yet we worship the same God. We formed our own church for friends and relatives of the gay and lesbian communities,”
The church is located in the heart of Nairobi’s city centre.

It uses an office meeting room that has been converted into a church. The fellowship is located in one of the high-end estates in Nairobi and the number of fellowshippers has steadily increased over the years to more than 100. John Makokha a Reverend of Riruta Hope Community Church, which is a Nairobi-based protestant church also ministers to the LGBTQ community. John welcomed gender and sexual minorities to his church due to the huge number of clergy shunning and discriminating the LGBTQ people.

He said, “I want people to understand the role of science in sexual identity and sexuality. Gay and lesbian [people] are children of God and created in his image,”
Reverend Makoha asserts that people choose to identify as gays or lesbians for various scientific reasons. He urges people not to perceive them as sinners. Reverend joined the clergy in 2004.

His inspiration to help gender and sexual minorities followed the death of one of his students who committed suicide after the school expelled him because of his sexual orientation. He asserted, “God is love, and we cannot say as Christians we are practising that love when we are closing doors for persons who are created in His image. Gay and lesbian persons should be accepted. They deserve a place where they can worship God.”

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