Document date: 14.04.2009
Greetings to the Presbyterian Church of East Africa on the occassion of its 19th General Assembly

Geneva, 14 April 2009

 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
I Peter 1.3

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Christ is risen! And with the joy of the resurrection, I greet you with grace and peace in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Eastertide is indeed a powerful time to be gathered for prayer, witness and council. Please know that our prayers are with the whole church and especially the pastors, elders and lay persons gathered at St Andrew's Church Hall for the 19th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA). The great story of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will surely inspire you as you seek God's guidance in strengthening the witness of the church.

The theme of the 19th General Assembly, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge", is a strong exhortation and a brave call for renewal on behalf of the people of God. It speaks to every Kenyan, to every man and woman, whose trust rests in the Lord. Such renewal begins with a deep and abiding knowledge of God and the desire to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with the Lord as we are reminded by many ancient prophets.

Hosea lived at a time of political turmoil during which even the priests of the temple had rejected the knowledge and teaching of God. In the midst of this, the Lord called Hosea to deliver a message of faithfulness, loyalty and knowledge of God for the salvation of Israel. God granted to Hosea the voice of a prophet, but also the faithfulness and wisdom to be a living example of God's redemptive love among his own people.

Like the Israelites, we are reminded of God's unfailing and redeeming love through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The power of the resurrection is the great testimony that God's redemptive love can conquer all things. By God's grace, Christ was raised from the dead and the world was saved because of God's love for all of creation.

By this "great mercy" we are "born anew to a living hope" through the power of the resurrection. The living hope of the people of God – that which renews their knowledge of God – is the amazing grace through which we have been saved by Jesus Christ and the great abiding love of the living the God. In response we are called by Christ himself to renew our faith, to seek the knowledge of God, to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

In the days ahead, may you be inspired by the witness of Christ resurrected, may the Holy Spirit bless you with an even deeper knowledge of God's redeeming love and may God be glorified through your prayers and the work for which you are gathered.

I am very thankful to the Rev. Samuel Muriguh, outgoing general secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, for his kind invitation to be with you personally. Unfortunately, my schedule does not permit me to be with you. By God's grace, I pray that Bishop Dr Owdenburg Moses Mdegella of Tanzania and Dr Nigussua Legesse of Ethiopia are with you, bearing witness to the love of and support of the WCC for the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.

I would like to offer my sincere congratulations and prayers for the newly installed leadership of the PCEA, including Rev. David Riitho Gathanju as moderator, Rev. Festus Kaburu Gitonga as general secretary and Mr Johnson Njatha Wathiri as honorary treasure elect. May you and the entire leadership of the PCEA strengthen the people in their knowledge of God.

Again, please accept these greetings on behalf of the WCC fellowship of member churches. We pray for God's abundant blessing on the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and for the proceedings of the 19th General Assembly.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary