Moses Masamba Nthukah is bishop of the diocese of Mbeere, in Kenya.

Nthukah was born in 1964. He trained for the priesthood at St Andrews College of Theology and Development, Kabare. He was awarded a diploma in theology and ministry in 1993, before being ordained the next year. After this he continued to study, alongside working in several Kenyan parishes in the Embu and Mbeere dioceses. He was awarded his degree in divinity and a licentiate in theology by St Paul University, Limuru.  

Following this, Nthukah moved to Britain; he next read for an MA at Ridley Hall College, Cambridge. His thesis was entitled Development as a form of pastoral ministry: with a case study of Njarange area project, Kenya. He returned to Kenya in 2001 to work as Academic Dean at St Andrews College of Theology and Development in Kabare. He also studied for an MSc in global development management through the Open University. 

Nthukah came back to the UK for further study in 2003, doing postgraduate research at the University of Wales Lampeter and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. He was finally awarded a PhD in Pastoral Theology and Development by Alcuin House Seminary, Minnesota in 2014.  

During his time in Britain, Nthukah also worked as a parish priest in the Diocese of Hereford. He served in the Archenfield group of churches, in the south and west of the county and lived in the small village of Much Birch. However, his time there was to be short. In 2008, he was appointed bishop of his home diocese of Mbeere, two or three hours drive north-east of Nairobi.  

The diocese of Mbeere was created from the Diocese of Embu in 1997; it consists of 62 parishes with 239 churches. Nthukah is only the second bishop, following Right Reverend Gideon Ireri.  At the time of Nthukah’s appointment, the diocese was rife with conflict and clan divisions, mirroring historical rivalries. The new bishop was to show himself an astute mediator.  

Mbeere is in an arid and semi-arid region; most of its people are small farmers. Maize, beans, cowpeas, pigeon peas, millet and sorghum are grown as subsistence crops, with green grams, chickpeas and cotton produced as cash crops. Nthukah commented, ‘The popular challenges facing the church in Mbeere is poverty and frequent droughts and famine, but I believe God will provide strength and opportunities for appropriate interventions.’ Nthukah helped develop Sustainable Agriculture Livelihoods Innovations (SALI). This enabled small farmers to adapt to climate change by means of a combination of modern and traditional forms of weather forecasting. The project delivered area-specific climate information and weather forecasts, meaning that the farmers were able to plant suitable crops at the appropriate time. 

The Mbeere Mothers’ Union identified the need for deaf children to be able to access secondary education. Working with the Peter Cowey Africa Trust, Nthukah established St Mary Magdalene High School for the Deaf in Riandu in 2012. Labouring alongside young deaf and hearing Kenyans, three volunteer groups from the UK helped construct the school building. The school’s aim is to give deaf children the means to access employment and to support themselves, as well as developing their language skills and giving them the confidence to communicate. Currently, it has eighty students.  

The first cathedral, formerly St Peter’s Church in Siakago, housed only 300 people; the diocesan synod of 2013 decided to replace this was a new and spacious building, with a capacity of between 2500 and 3000 people. Its opening in 2019 also celebrated the centenary of the original church in the diocese.  

The Diocese of Mbeere also developed a Church Centred Sports Ministry for evangelism and reconciliation. Nthukah was inspired by a youth sports programme; he had a vision for using football for mission and to bring about changes in communities. As part of this, he hosted a visit from Revd. Andy Bowerman, the chaplain to the English Premier League club Southampton, and the south coast side’s Kenyan star, Victor Wanyama.  

Nthukah has written extensively about faith-based organizations and poverty reduction in Kenya. In particular, he is the author of Africa’s faith based organizations in transformational development: assessing poverty reduction and its implications for pastoral theology, (Lambert, 2015). In it, he explored the nature and effectiveness of Christian organizations’ strategies to reduce the ongoing crisis of poverty in his diocese. With Julius M. Gathogo, he is co-author of A Fallow Goldmine: One Hundred Years of Mbeere Mission in Kenya (1919-2019), (Kairos, 2019).  

Nthukah is passionate about the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ; reconciliation, mediation and healing; peace and justice; transformational development; and pastoral theological contextual issues. He is married to Lucy Mothoni Masamba; they have three adult children. 

Sources 

BBC, Hereford & Worcester. (2008). The Revd. Moses is to become a bishop. Retrieved September 14 2020 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/content/articles/2008/09/19/herefordshire_priest_becomes_kenya_bishop_feature.shtml 

Nthukah, M. (2020). Moses Nthukah, Diocesan Bishop at Diocese of Mbeere. [LinkedIn page]. LinkedIn. Retrieved September 14 2020 from https://www.linkedin.com/in/moses-nthukah-30871829/ 

WA Anglicana (2016, May 18). Who will be the next archbishop of ACK? (2016). [Blog post]. Retrieved September 14 2020 from https://waanglicana.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/who-will-be-the-6th-archbishop-of-ack/ 

Project Riandu Volunteers (n.d.). The need, the change-makers, the partnership and the impact. Retrieved September 14 2020 from http://www.projectriandu.com/the-project.html 

Candle news Kenya. (2019, December 15). Imposing Mbeere ACK Cathedral enriches beauty of Siakogo town. [Blog post]. Retrieved September 14 2020 from http://candlenewskenya.blogspot.com/2019/12/imposing-mbeereack-cathedral-enriches.html