Photos of Bishops, Delegates, and First Pastor of the Kenyan Lutheran Church Locked Out by Obare, by Pr. Rossow

Here are a few photos from the debacle in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK). I have been posting stories about Walter Obare locking duly elected delegates out of the recent ELCK convention. This morning I received photographic documentation.

Two months ago then presiding Bishop Obare called a church-wide convention for March 27. The first problem was that he sent the invitation to select parishes. The greater problem was that he did not allow dozens of duly elected delegates into the convention.

The locked out delegates included three bishops and the very first pastor of the ELCK, 80 year old plus Rev. James Otete. Can you imagine C. F. W. Walther being locked out of an LCMS convention?

Locked Out of the Convention

Locked Out of the Convention


Part of the Delegation - Bishop Bakari (purple clerical on left by the bus), Bishop Asiago to his right and Pastor Otete to his Right

Part of the Delegation – Bishop Bakari (purple clerical on left by the bus), Bishop Asiago to his right and Pastor Otete to his Right


Pleading with the Armed Guards for Entrance

Pleading with the Armed Guards for Entrance

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Photos of Bishops, Delegates, and First Pastor of the Kenyan Lutheran Church Locked Out by Obare, by Pr. Rossow — 20 Comments

  1. One person didn’t seem to be in the pictures. Was LCMS Church Relations and Regional Operations Director and International Lutheran Conference Executive Secretary Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III able to attend the March 27th ELCK convention in the remote area of northern Kenya, and present greetings from President Harrison and the LCMS to a sister church body and its presiding bishop?

  2. Thanks for the new posts made. Now I can confirm to you that you are talking of things whose background you know not.

    The one whom you referred to as Bishop Bakari was defrocked when he openly averred that he does not believe in baptism, that with him, he was saved not by holy waters of baptism but through the revelation in a vision in which God spoke to him great mysteries and thence obtained salvation.Called to recant, he refused to come and instead upheld his stand.

    Yes, this is your bishop!

    Probably you hold the same doctrine and in Kenyan constitution, there is freedom of worship anyway.( The bill of Rights ) for your information. So just go a head and solicit for them massive support from the well wishers who may have fallen prey to such heterodox , but please refrain from soiling the church of Christ and its servants in Kenya.

  3. Carl,

    I don’t think Dr. Collver attends all the conventions of all the sister churches. Since the LCMS told Obare that they would not fund this convention I think it is a safe bet to say that he was not there.

  4. Eagle Eye,

    I have spoken to Bishop Bakari face to face about this accusation and he had told me that it is not true.

    Even if it were true, wouldn’t this be a good time to have him stand before the entire church and state his position so that true reconciliation could happen.

    Also, even if it were true, are all of the parishes of his diocese also excommunicated by Obare’s fiat? Why were the delegates from all around Kenya barred from the convention?

  5. I would be interesting to learn how long the Harrison Administration has been acutely aware of Obare’s misdeeds and what, if anything, it has done in response to them.

  6. Aside from the battle for political control what are the theologic differences between these two groups?

  7. LW,

    Good question.

    When there has been so much manipulation and heavy-handedness it is hard to talk about theology. It’s the whole actions and words thing.

    It is also hard to talk about theologiocal differences because many people are convinced (me included) that someone else writes Obare’s speeches delivered in the US.

    Overall, I would say that the theology is pretty similar. The ELCK is fairly well catechized. The minority that supports Obare are not poorly catechized although the worship at Obare’s church has a lot of charismatic influence.

    I hope that helps.

  8. Brothers and sisters in Christ, whether these wrangles are because of Theological difference or any other, it is now too much. May all well wishers face these leaders and tell them the truth. Or this can result to Schism. Thanks.

  9. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Luke 7:15-16a. What theology do you expect from a serial thief a man who lies without wink?

  10. In light, of what has occurred, in the last 24 hrs, how does this effect our brothers & sisters, in Kenya? Has the ELCK made a statement? Has the LCMS?

  11. Eager to hear from LCMS or ELCK. Silence may be mistaken for support and may generate another battle. Come out clean especially LCMS.

  12. It is very sad on what is happening in ELCK perpetrated by Obare and his henchmen. If Bishop Obare is right why can’t he allow for an all inclusive convention and invite all the Mission Partners to determine who is right or wrong. He is now using money from Luther Plaza, Oasis Villas which has seven units at 120,000 per unit, the Guest house in Lavington, and other income generating assets within their reach, for their own benefit and bribing their way around. One of the Key monster that we are fighting in Kenya is Corruption and somehow Bishop Obare and his cronies have thrived on the same by bribing their way around. As far as we are concerned we elected a new Office led by Bishop Thomas Asiago as the presiding Bishop and his team. It is in very bad taste for some to believe the lies that are being peddled that Bishop Asiago and Bishop Bakari have been excommunicated. It is Obare’s evil ploy that he had hatched from the beginning to sideline those Bishops and individuals that he considered a threat to his long term strategy of staying illegally in office to make sure he brings on board those that will cover him up for the massive corruption during his illegal tenure in office. Since 2002 ELCK has never had a proper Audit report. Our concern is that why have a Mission Partner or individual abet and aid corruption in the guise of very flimsy reasons. And please stop being lured by the so called confessional defender of the faith. We are confessional and we are guided fully by the Bible and Lutheran Articles of confessions and belief.

  13. Right now his henchmen in the name of Pastor Lemosi who is his secretary and one Rev. Kispan masquerading as a Bishop ( appointed by Bishop Obare to bring chaos in Central Diocese)have gone to attack one of our Pastors in Samburu, Rev. Abdub Godana on a Sunday when he was leading the Easter Sunday service, and demanded for the only vehicle that serves that region. They want to sale the vehicle claiming that there are debts to be paid. You can imagine the plight of our dear brethren and community in the Samburu region. This is corruption of the highest order.

    It is also a very big lie, recently he was interviewed by our local media that he has not been remitting the statutory deductions (National Social security Fund- NSSF, National Hospital Insurance Fund- NHIF, PAYE that is Pay as you Earn, the pension scheme etc) due to the workers in ELCK for many years. The Oak Park apartments, that were put up to help in the Pension scheme of the retired Pastors and church workers yet he has used the money to his own benefit. It is only him and a few of his staff at the head office that the remittances are being made yet many of the serving pastors and retired church servants are living in total abject poverty. ( This is also a report in the Kenyan Daily Nation of 5th April 2015 page 30.
    It is very bad for him to claim that

  14. since he has never remitted any thing and there is a lot of suffering and despair.
    The elections in Kapenguria according to the directive from the Registrar of Societies was supposed to be all inclusive and transparent. This was not to be as from the word go Obare and his cronies decided to rig the elections by deliberately sidelining the stakeholders representatives to the electoral commission and openly denied those candidates that had expressed the intent to vie for the advertised positions- General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer. Remember that the main position that he Obare retires and allow for election of a Presiding Bishop and the necessary Constitutional Committees.
    I myself I am the one who was among those who went to the Deputy registrar requesting him to bring the two groups together, Obare’s group and Stakeholders group to solve the problems in the church, which he did and among the resolutions from that meeting was to have an all inclusive elections. To my surprise Bishop Obare did the opposite, we had the official lists of delegates from the respective Parishes especially from Central diocese where I am serving only for Bishop Obare and his group to call for a election but instead use fake delegates to attend. I was among the Pastors who went up to Kapenguria with the true delegates numbering about 120 only to reach the get and be told we can not enter. And this was after we had been stopped by Police on a Road block to Kapenguria town stating that they had been told that there were church buses and other vehicles that were coming with hooligans to disrupt the elections! I am the Parish leader in Nairobi and through the Council we had elected delegates to the supposed National AGM only to hear that three persons from Nairobi who are not delegates had been hand picked and taken as delegates. This is the same thing that he did with most of the other Parishes.
    Can Bishop Obare have the moral Authority to rebuke the Government on corruption when he himself is heavily trusting the same.
    I want to say here that the Office that we know in Central Diocese is one lead by Bishop Bakari Kea is the Bishop, his Secretary Benjamin Simba Mambo, and Treasurer Oscar MUshivochi and a functional Diocesan Council. The others used by Bishop Obare are illegal outfits he has put to advance his illegal agenda.
    It has been claimed that Bishop Bakari has been defrocked and excommunicated, my dear Theologians can you state reasons that warrant such action or unless we claim to be Theologians and do not understand the meaning and would be reasons that warrant that. Abuse of Office to settle political persuasions is not acceptable.

  15. Sorry that I had to say so much today hoping that there is someone listening to the problems and challenges that we are passing through in ELCK.
    I have a statement from Bishop Bakari. This is his response to the accusations that were leveled against him and accordingly warranted the supposed defrocking and excommunication. What is the procedure for accusing a Pastor or Bishop. Did his members from Central Diocese through the respective Councils accuse him? They love him and he is their leader irrespective of the false malicious accusations done to detract his reputation. We know that he was a threat to Bishop Obare.


    My statement of Faith
    God’s grace and peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you. I wish to once again reiterate on my faith and Lutheran Confessions as I did during my Ordination and during my installation as the Bishop of Central Diocese.
    Supposedly there are false accusations that have been leveled against me by our detractors who maliciously are trying to find fault with anybody that does not succumb to their whims and wishes.
    1. I Bishop Bakari Kea do solemnly state;
    That I believe, confess and teach that the Holy Scriptures contained in the thirty nine (39) canonical books of the Old Testament and the twenty seven (27) canonical books of the New Testament are the inspired Word of God and the only infallible authority in all matters of faith and life.
    That I profess the Christian doctrine and belief that is founded on the Holy Scriptures, which belief is comprised in each and all of the ecumenical creeds, viz. the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed, and is also expressed in the Unaltered Augsburg Confession of 1530 as well as in Martin Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms and the other symbolical books of the Lutheran Church.
    That I believe that salvation is an act of God through His loving grace that comes through the power of word and sacrament i.e. Baptism as stated clearly in the Holy Scripture –
    John 3:5 -Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
    1 Peter 3:21- “… and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[a] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
    Romans 6:1-3-“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
    2. There are allegations that in our consultative meeting at JJ McCarthy I talked of salvation being possible outside the means of Grace. And supposedly also at some meeting in Matongo which I do not remember to have said. To the best of my knowledge I have not said anything to that effect and these are farfetched accusations with ulterior motives meant to discredit me.
    3. There is an incidence that happened in Msambweni while I was a Pastor which is now being said that I allowed a woman Pastor to baptize a child. The truth is that I did not allow the lady Pastor to baptize any of my members children. Some visitors from Sweden had come and wanted their child to be baptized and since I was conducting baptism on the said day, my understanding was that they were going to have me baptize their child only for them to ask that they have their Pastor whom they would like to conduct the ceremony. Unfortunately the Pastor who stood was a woman and I immediately objected and had to seek the counsel of some of the members present and elders present.
    They said that since the child in question was not ours and having already baptized our own they requested that she be allowed since the child was not our member. I do have witnesses who can concur with my statement on the same. I therefore find it very disturbing that this incidence can now be used against me as not understanding the position of the ordained ministry in our church as relates to our belief and practice on the same.

    4. On the question of the Episcopal polity, it is even ridiculous for such accusations. How can I be against the Episcopacy and yet I am one in that order!? I am a Bishop in the apostolic succession order. What I observed on this matter was if the members of ELCK truly understood the difference between the Titles of the Arch Bishop as relates to the Title of the Presiding Bishop. What is our understanding as Lutherans on the same? Is an Arch/Presiding Bishop one among equals with the other Bishops or is he above the others? I suggest that we need to understand this so that it can help in understanding roles and responsibilities.

    5. My detractors have also accused me that I am anti liturgy. The truth be told I believe I am a better liturgist than some of them. I do lead the liturgy every Sunday and truly love the richness in the composition of the liturgy. The whole idea I believe in enriching the liturgy is to contextualize it in our own setting without subtracting or watering down any part thereof. Our respective cultures influence our response to the musical or text setting of the liturgy. I hereby do state clearly that I am pro liturgy and there is no any one time that I have demeaned its usefulness as an order in divine service.
    And here I stand so God help me. Amen

    Bishop Bakari Kea
    Central Diocese Bishop

  16. May God preserve His faithful servants, restrain the evil and unbelieving, and give His Word free reign for the salvation of His people.

    Lord, have mercy.

  17. We need clear and official statement from LCMS president. Silence may create wrong assumptions already forming.

  18. Am a member of ELCK. I have been following keenly happenings in our Church. What I have learnt is accusations and counter accusations which are totally false. We are looks at our Church leaders for guidance. When we go to Church on Sundays, we expect God’s serenity and not leadership quagmire. My prayer is a united Church ready for Advent. Our Bishops,Reverends,Pastors,evangelists and all Church leaders, guide us. Our church is endowed with a cadre of professionals who include lawyers,engineers, accountanrs,politicians,teachers and many others whose input can sort the crisis. I therefore suggest a meeting with all professionals who can deflate the crisis.

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