Partnership between Presbyterians in Scotland and Kenya grows from strength to strength

The Moderator of the General Assembly spent 10 days in Kenya to strengthen the Church of Scotland’s historic partnership with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. (PCEA)

Dr Russell Barr
Right Rev Dr Russell Barr gives a high five.

Right Rev Dr Russell Barr and his wife Margaret were shown round a wide range of projects run by PECA which are ultimately aimed at furthering God’s kingdom on earth.

They included the Mother Esther boarding school and Rescue Centre for girls saved from early marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Maasai land.

The Church of Scotland delegation, which included Valerie Macniven, convener of the Africa and Caribbean Committee of the World Mission Council, and Council Secretary Jennie Chinembiri, visited two churches in Kibera - the biggest slum in Africa.

One of the churches is home to an HIV Project, which supports children and adults suffering from the disease.

The initiative is supported by the World Mission Council and Barrhead Bourock Parish Church.

Dr Barr also led worship in Kibera Parish - home to around 1 million people, many of whom survive on just $1 a day.

One of the highlights for the Moderator was a visit to the National Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade Centre at Ngenda.

Dr Barr said: “Having been brought up in the Boys' Brigade in my home town of Kilmarnock, I have always felt a strong affection for Scotland's oldest Christian uniformed organisation.

“As well as providing a lot of enjoyment, it was through the BB that my vocation and calling into ministry was awakened.

“So as part of our official visit to Kenya, I was delighted a visit to the Presbyterian Church of East Africa's new Brigade centre at Ngenda was included as part of our programme.

“The Brigade have not long taken possession of the building on a beautiful six acre site with lovely view across the valley to the neighbouring hills.

“As well as a £10,000 cheque from the Brigade in Scotland, I brought gifts and a letter of greetings and good wishes from Bill Stevenson, the Brigade Secretary.

“It was so good to see the Brigade continues to offer activity, friendship and a sure and steadfast anchor for young people today.

“William Alexander Smith would be very proud.”

Dr Barr led worship at PCEA Kiambu Town Church on the first Sunday of his visit.

The delegation toured round a Mission Hospital at Kikuyu and the Presbyterian University of East Africa.

Dr Barr also visited the Lay Training Centre in Nairobi, which houses a training centre for preachers, a teacher training college and primary school.

The Moderator was the guest preacher at Kayole Parish Churches in Nairobi, which is twinned with Chalmers Church in Ardler, Dundee.

The Scots congregation has supported their Kenyan brothers and sisters in Christ since 2010, paying for equipment for a primary school and medical centre.