United Methodist Mission Schools – The Untold Story



United Methodist Mission Schools
 It seems that men and women of cloth greed for wealth has gone overboard. Whereas their duped congregations are content to lead miserable lives waiting for kingdom come and enjoy eternity in total bliss, the men and women of collar are literally swimming in unimaginable wealth right here on paradise earth. Which minister of gospel would choose to wallow in poverty when gullible masses can be exploited to fund their opulent lives?

  Witness the ease with which these pastors – some with briefcase churches – preys on foreigners in name of ‘partnering’ in ‘kingdom building’, when in literal sense they are seeking for sources to finance their largess at a time churches are not witnessing exponential growth or engaged in serious soul winning efforts.

  There is a sad scenario replete with many churches today. When some of these churches experiences problems, the pastors in charge do not look for solutions from within, or turns to God for direction, but runs to whoever they thinks will offer best solutions. Unfortunately, the outsourced solutions do not turn out as best, and possibly opens the churches to outside influence (including demonic attacks), which in long term will bring more harm than good.

   Whereas a church can fund-raise and make a modest house of worship on own, the crying shame with some is they cannot rise from ground zero without the financial or material input of foreigners. This mentality can be witnessed where many of government initiated projects are wholly of partially funded by donors. The rationale here is that we can do nothing on our own, and claim credit to it, unless there is an external financial injection. Even where projects are wholly funded from external sources, there are those who will end up laying claim or ownership to them.

  And this is what informs a matter pertaining to the ownership of United Methodist Mission Schools (also known as The Betty Mavity Roberts Educational Centre) located in Bahati District in Nakuru County. Currently, there are ongoing court cases pitting the schools’ founder, Diane Hamrick, an American missionary, and elders of the local United Methodist church.

  But how did this dispute arose?

   According to my sources, the American first visited the country in 2006 in what was a safari visit. Well, the obsession of wazungus with our wildlife is legendary. But on her second visit in 2008, she felt she had a calling to do something, especially for the African child, after witnessing graphic levels of poverty firsthand in the country.

  Ms Hamrick, a retired lawyer, partnered with a non-governmental organisation by the name of Child and Faith Support and thus founded the schools in question (comprising a kindergarten, primary and secondary school sections).

  But before the schools opened the doors, or adopted the name United Methodist Mission Schools, here is a behind-the-scenes story. The missionary met with a pastor who shall remain nameless. As she identified with the same faith this pastor professed, she felt it would be great working together with him and bring her dreams to fruition – a gamble that would prove costly, and be the genesis of her nightmares, as we shall see later.

  The proposed name of the schools was not the current one but the given one in brackets on fifth paragraph. This was in honour of her late parents. However, the pastor friend was cunning and outwitted her in telling her that the name would not sell as the local populace would see the schools as catering for the children of the elites ones and shun them ( in fact,the schools were not for elite children but were meant for the poor where pupils and students would be charged subsidized fees or be sponsored throughout). Registering the school in name of the church was seen as the sure way to circumvent this imbroglio. 

  This was the first red flag the foreigner the foreigner failed to take note of.

  When the school was up and running, the lady realised the pastor friend had taken from supervising to managing it as his personal property though he was only incorporated on the school board as a mere caretaker and not a shareholder! She was forced to send him packing, and it is not without drama that this pastor exited the stage.

  Sources intimate the disgruntled man of cloth began spreading falsehoods, and, at one point, allegedly dropped leaflets all the way from Dundori township to Lanet, with the said leaflets causing panic that some parents hurriedly withdrew their children and transferred them to other schools.

  Then Diane made the second blunder. She replaced the first pastor with another one from the same church! The second pastor, who shall also remain nameless, replicated what his predecessor did even taking the game to a new height! That's according to my sources.

  Who said you can blindly trust a man or a woman of cloth even when he is as gentle as a dove on the outside? That was the sobering reality that hit the American like dung to the fan!

  Meantime, the first pastor had moved to the court, supported by the elders of the church, to lay claims to the schools as the church’s property. Here is what I find interesting. The church worships in a rented building, and had a minimal congregation averaging to less than two dozen members, and did not contribute a penny from land acquisition or eventual construction of the learning blocks, but is laying claims to investment worth million of shillings!

  Does this sound similar to another court case pitting the Little Sisters of St Theresa and a Catholic prelate, also an American, over the ownership of St Mary’s Hospital in Gilgil?

  But, wait! Diane run out of her patience with the second pastor, seeing the situation was only exacerbating for the worse (over mismanagement). The second pastor did not bow out without much of a fight as well.

  When the first pastor lost the court case, Diane thought the ugly past was over, and with great fanfare she re-launched the school this time emblazoning it with names of her late parents (as given in paragraph five)

  But the victory in reclaiming what is rightfully hers was short-lived.

  The second pastor too had moved to court, also claiming the schools in the name of the church! (I don’t see how a high ranking church member incorporated to oversee the running of an institution would end up claiming ownership of everything in the name of his church). To complicate the situation, I’m told the first pastor had appealed the judgment he lost. With overlapping court cases the American investor is attending to, she had been ordered to revert the school to its former name; until the cases are heard and determined (the church is getting some mileages from here!).

  Well, it doesn’t all end here. The school had been mired in some controversy that would make for an anecdotal spiel – but that is story for another day!

Comments

  1. As a parent in the school, and having attended all the court hearing on this case, I can't help but feel a deep sense of anger hearing "pastors" and "bishops" lying under oath you can almost feel the greediness in their voices as they try all ways to swindle a humble God fearing old woman who came to help orphans attain education. Shame on the Methodist Church of Kenya, the truth shall prevail.

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