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Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

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Purpose. The purpose of this project was to explore ways and administrative means for fostering change in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in terms of leadership and personnel appointments. This denomination, with historical roots and structure in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, functions now as an African denomination with unique situations relative to its culturally diverse membership. This study was initiated by the current surge in church growth and expansions in Kenya, and a subsequent decline in effective church leadership. The current shortage of ministers and other personnel has intensified the problem and created a style of church administration characterized by 'authoritative leadership' controlled by a few. This has diminished the kind of leadership needed for the broader areas of ministry required by church growth. The current procedure for the appointing of personnel in parishes, in church sponsored schools and in hospitals is also quite inadequate. This study was designed to determine the specific problems and to seek ways to help correct the situation through some changes which can be recommended to the church.

Method and procedures. This project was undertaken at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, under the leadership of a faculty appointed doctoral committee, with assistance from ministers and their families from the Presbyterian Church of East Africa studying in Atlanta, other Presbyterian students from Africa, consultants, as well as P.C.E.A. members and Church officials in Kenya. The local participants were used as a project group which met in six structured discussion sessions, each with different foci, two of which were led by church consultants. Questionnaires were used as research tools with local participants as well as participants in Kenya. Church officials in Kenya were interviewed by telephone, with a follow-up analyses by the project group and the writer.

The project input also reflects the writer's library research including books and periodicals which were obtained directly from Kenya. A historical study was made of different types of leadership styles and personnel appointment procedures employed from the inception of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa with Scottish missionaries denomination through models currently operating in the denomination.

Conclusions and recommendations. This study concluded with recommendations which can be summarized as follows.

1. The suspension of the 'Right of Call' by the denomination in the early 1960s was done without careful study. After making the desired adjustments and changes, this method of posting pastors should be introduced again as a pilot project in certain areas for a period of ten (10) years to determine the effectiveness of this process. The Appointments Committee should monitor the implementation of the 'Right of Call' by parishes, and be allowed to intervene in situations where the respect of the 'Right of Call' is assessed to be abused. The final appointment letter should come from the Secretary of the Appointments Committee, thus reminding the pastors that they are answerable both to the parish and to the presbytery. Ministers salaries should then be determined in accordance with the 'Right of Call,' and funds should be made available to develop those areas which have no 'Right of Call.'

2. Reduce the bureaucracy of P.C.E.A. by returning the power of leadership to the Presbyteries. This will remove the power from the 'head office' personnel (Moderator, Secretary General, and Finance Officer) to local Presbyteries, thus, allowing a more democratic form of leadership. This will also allow a more democratic form of appointment of personnel for ministers, hospitals and schools, wherein local tribes, cultures and customs can be taken into consideration with respect. Allow the office of the moderator of the General Assembly to be more of a ceremonial office rather than an executive office. During the study it was determined by the project group and the writer that the Presbyterian Church of East Africa has been influenced by the episcopal system of bishops which is antithetical to denominations in the (Presbyterian) Reformed tradition. Merge head office 'departments' into 'desks' with similar areas of concern, so that there are fewer personnel in the head office, further strengthening the administrative role of Presbyteries.

3. The church should take seriously its pastoral responsibilities in church sponsored schools and institutions and appoint a minister in every Presbytery to serve in a pastoral capacity in schools and institutions.

4. Consider paying the three top employees of the church sponsored hospitals through the hospital's Boards. Also allow overseas volunteers or missionary staff to work in hospitals for not less than two years in order eliminate the problems created by shorter terms of service.

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