Placement on the Plains

Posted by Roger Cooke on Fri, 25 Oct 2013 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

The Church of Ireland Theological Institute (CITI) sends those training for ordination on placement at the end of their first year of study. Many students take this opportunity to stretch their horizons by exploring ministry in an unfamiliar context. Between May and June, I left the home comforts of college in Dublin, and traveled to the Diocese of Kajiado in Kenya. Staying at the diocesan resource centre, my five week ministry placement was split between the Cathedral, and the archdeaconry of Kiengela.

The resource centre is a vibrant place, with the Cathedral next door. Staying so long in one location gave me a great opportunity to get to know the staff, learn some of the language, and even get my hands dirty peeling spuds and doing a bit of weeding. Working in the cathedral allowed me to spend time visiting local people, as well as taking part in large scale services. I found people warm, welcoming and willing to share their homes, lives and faith.

Kitengela is a rapidly growing, fast paced town on the way to Nairobi. I tagged along with a number of clergy on their daily rounds and had a chance to see some the blessings and challenges, similarities and differences, between neighbouring parishes within the Archdeacory.

I have previously been on three META teams, in Uganda and Rwanda. I really enjoyed travelling by myself this time, in the way it enabled me to engage with people. Immersion in Kenyan culture helped me to see past differences, making meaningful connections with ordinary people in their everyday lives, from difficult pastoral conversations, to banter with taxi drivers.

I had a wonderful experience in Kenya, with preaching, teaching, pastoral visits, church tours, as well as lots of eating and building relationships (which often go hand in hand). I am so pleased that I chose to go with CMS Ireland to Kenya. The warmth, energy and passion in the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) will stay with me as I return to CITI. I have been encouraged and uplifted, and the things I have learned and experienced will be of great benefit to me for years to come. I feel privileged to have spent time working alongside my brothers and sisters in the ACK and hope that we meet again soon.

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