Δευτέρα, 16 Ιανουαρίου 2017

Father Antipas of Kenya: "I appeal to all of you to set your hearts up summing a foundation that will help support our work here in Africa"...




Basil Vetas, In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa

The distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Kenya, the school board, parents, teachers and students I greet you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I am Reverend Father Antipas, a Greek-Orthodox priest (*) serving within the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, of the Holy Archbishopric of Kenya. I was born on the 23rd July 1974, as a first born in a family of 5 children. My mother fell ill and remained in that condition for almost two years before she passed on. My father was a peasant farmer, and it became only natural for me to join my father on the farm. I also had to leave school from time to time to go and engage in child labor. Instead of being in school, I had to work on tea and sugarcane farms for a meager pay to help supplement my father’s effort to make ends meet.

(*) Note of our blog: "Greek-Orthodox" here means "Byzantine", the ancient Christian Church = the Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa).

I was therefore on and off from school until I met a Coptic Orthodox priest who took me back to school in grade seven. I completed my primary education, and he later took me to a good high school. Unfortunately, this priest also passed on. I once again dropped out of school and left my rural home and came to Nairobi in search of a better life, where I visited a Coptic Orthodox church and served there briefly as a reader.

I met Father Philippos who Introduced me to a Greek-Orthodox priest, Father Innocentios, who is now the Orthodox Bishop of Rwanda and Burundi . This priest developed in me the desire for priesthood; he sponsored me for a teachers training course and later helped me to join the Orthodox Seminary, after which I became a priest. 

The Orthodox Bishop of Rwanda and Burundi Innocentios (from here)

Today, I am a married priest with two children, and I thank God for the opportunity to give back to the society through my priestly ministry and through the Dagoretti School.

My ministry as a priest enabled me to interact with many slum children in Nairobi. Many of these children lived in conditions far worse than what I experienced as a young boy; their plight and my own experience planted in me the desire to establish a school for them.

I shared my vision with my bishop and he gave me his blessing. I then approached a few friends and we founded this school as a community-based organization to end up providing the children with education, talent development, mentorship and technical training. Today we have a full primary school and we have also started St. Nektarios High School as a project of Dagoretti School to help us provide secondary education to the children. We hope to find partnerships, partners and well-wishers who will help us to buy land and build a proper school, and a training center and an Orthodox chapel to help us serve the children better.

Many of our children came from single families. Some are orphans mainly due to the HIV scourge. Some are drawn from the streets where they begged for assistance. Some were exposed to child prostitution and sexual molestation. We therefore need to feed, educate, council, rehabilitate and mentor them.

For this reason, I count myself privileged to have met Mr. Basil who agreed to help fund my studies for a Bachelors of Arts in Sustainable Human Development. I thank you all for meeting here today to fundraise for this noble cause. This degree will help me acquire a new set of skills and competencies for a better service to God and to the community.

I therefore appeal to all of you to set your hearts up summing a foundation that will help support our work here in Africa. I encourage you to have a very close partnership with us so that you can work with us to ensure a transparent and accountable use of finances. In order to share with you proper documentary of the situation, kindly plan for an invitation and support to make it possible for me to be able to travel to the U.S. and share more about the school and about the projects we are running here.

Remember us in your prayers and may God bless us all. Amen.

See also

Orthodox Kenya (tag) 
African Orthodox Church of Kenya / Facebook

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