The newly ordained leaders of the Methodist Church in Kenya Coast Region Conference (MCKCRC) want the court to dismiss a case by the mother church challenging their installation. MCKCRC seceded from the Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK).
The MCKCC, through lawyer George Kithi, argued that the case has been overtaken by events. “The court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter in the manner it has been pleaded. The event that the orders sought to stop has already taken place so there is no need to continue with the case,” Mr Kithi said.
He told Mariakani Senior Resident Magistrate Nelly Adalo that the suit is fatally defective, adding that the newly formed conference wants to manage its own resources.
He added that the conference will demand transparency and accountability, and also ensure that it controls local resources.
The group on Saturday ordained Bishop Wellington Sanga as its regional president, in blatant contravention of a court order. Six pastors who will head the church’s synods in the six coastal counties were also ordained.
MCK last week obtained a court order barring the group from installing its officials at the Ribe Thomas Wakefield Methodist Church, or any other Methodist church in Kenya.
It argued that it had not sanctioned the move, and that the respondents were no longer its members.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this application inter partes, the respondents, whether by themselves or their agents, are hereby restrained from holding an inauguration to instal officials of the church in Kenya premises within the Coast region on January 27, or thereafter,” the order said.
“Assuming the respondents are planning to start their own church, then let them do it away from the plaintiff’s property as it is their fundamental right of freedom to worship and association,” MCK said in court documents.
It said the splinter group’s action was intended to cause trouble, and that chances of violence were high if the installation was allowed to take place.
MCK claims that the splinter group had changed the sign at its Ribe church, causing confusion in the church’s leadership and among worshippers.
The Methodist Church in Kenya argues that the church hierarchy and it’s standing orders, which serves as its constitution, stipulate that it can have only one conference, which is also its centre of power.