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Bishop’s Elevation May End Kenyan Methodist Turmoil

Isaiah Deye is elected to replace Joseph Ntombura, who was accused of mishandling church funds.

The Methodist Church in Kenya elected a new presiding bishop on July 20, three months after the last one was forced from leadership.

Isaiah Deye, 61, was elected with 76 percent of the vote at the 58th Annual Conference of the Church in Nairobi, raising hopes that recent turmoil and threats of schism will come to an end.

“I am greatly humbled and yet highly honored to be elected as the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya and accept your decision that I should ascend to the office of the Presiding Bishop,” Deye said in his acceptance speech on Friday. “I pledge to be a leader who will seek to serve rather than to be served, and a role model for all the clergy and laity.”

The bishop has led the church in an acting capacity since April, when Bishop Joseph Ntombura was removed from office due to allegations of mishandling church funds and investments in a hospital, a resort, and a national university.

The allegations had put Ntombura in conflict with other church leaders. Methodist churches across the country had begun to make moves to create their own autonomous conference.

Deye garnered 281 votes, a majority of the 366 ballots cast. The race included three other candidates. His closest rival, Catherine Mutua, garnered 35 votes.

Deye is the second presiding bishop from the country’s coast region, which includes the region’s capital, Mombasa. Most church leaders have come from Meru, a region of Eastern Kenya.

Deye has said he hopes to be an example of Christian love and service in the church and asked for the church to unite behind him. “To succeed, I need your help in my efforts to bring unity in the church. For unity to take root there has to be harmony in the church,” …

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