Up to 4, 500 delegates, mainly members of Christian unions drawn from universities and tertiary institutions in Kenya and from across the world convened at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Monday December 29, for a week-long conference dubbed Commission 2014 aimed at enhancing the strategic role of Christian students as agents of change in the world. The Conference with the gospel them “as the father has sent me, so I send you” is attended, mainly by students, leading clergymen, church leaders, missionary workers and other Christian luminaries drawn from 17 countries in Africa, North America and Europe.
Presiding over the opening ceremony, Bishop Mark Kariuki of the Deliverance Church of Kenya used the occasion to remind Christian youths in Kenya’s institutions of higher learning, they had an obligation to advance Christ’s life giving mission in the world. Bishop Kariuki told the conference that Jesus who in the gospel pleaded for more laborers was ‘in our times’ keenly interested in more coworkers to promote his mission.
In her welcoming remarks, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the vice Chancellor said JKUAT was pleased to host the forum, the 9th conference for the second time, after the inaugural event in 1988, saying it was a clear expression of JKUAT’s support for the initiative. The vice chancellor paid tribute to the founders of the program which she noted had now over 40, 000 Christian members spread in 143 institutions of higher learning in Kenya.
Speaking on the theme ‘and who is equal to such a task’ the Rev. Calisto Odede, a Baptists clergyman in Nairobi enumerated a summary of qualities suitable for the apostolate, citing honesty and devoutness. Rev. Odede, who based his address on Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, warned the world was experiencing unprecedented upheavals some ‘from those claiming to be apostles of Christ’. He was however categorical the origin of authentic apostolate is God saying self-appointed apostolate hardly stood the test of time.
Conference organizers credit the event for empowering students for global impact achieved through its emphasis on raising responsible Christian students with a deep sense of purpose in life and awareness of global issues. Furthermore, the event that brings together 73 universities and colleges, several mission agencies, churches, and theological institutions provides a rare opportunity for participants to network and initiate collaborations.
During the seven days, there will be a series of seminars on various themes including social justice, ethnicity and ethnocentrism, transforming the next generation, reaching Muslims, media and missions, devolution challenges and opportunities. The conference is attended by among others, Dr. Timothy Wachira, Vice Chancellor, Daystar University, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, JKUAT’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs and Prof. Kamau Ngamau, former Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, and member of conference organizers.