Gay Kenyan couple declares their wedding vows before officiating clergy and guests

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On March 16, 2015, two male Kenyans, Edwin Sikot and Isaiah, gave to each other their vows of wedded commitment before an officiating clergy and friends. On July 19, 2015, in Mtitu Andei, Kenya, Rev. Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz, in the presence of Rev. Michael Kimindu, interviewed Edwin and Isaiah for the declared purpose of, and with the explicit permission of the interviewees, to publish their story with photos here.  Their story was first published here, to the Internet, on July 29, 2015.

Subsequent to the Other Sheep publishing of this post, Gay Star News found the blog on the Internet and carried it in their Internet news service. Edwin Sikot, in turn, accepted Gay Star News’ request for a follow-up interview.  In that interview, which was published here on August 11, 2015, Joe Morgan wrote, with quotes from Edwin, the following:  

Edwin has no regrets about allowing someone to write about him, in fact, he’s proud of it. He wants people to know and understand what is happening in his country.

‘I know I have to go through this, and I know that some are following me. I will not regret who I am. If it means I have to die, I will die,’ he said.

‘This is my life, why should I hide? If God makes his decision, I will accept it.’

He added: ‘We cannot change the world by staying quiet. We can only change the world by talking, taking action, and speaking out.’

 

MANGGIS, BALI, INDONESIA. by REV. STEPHEN PARELLI.  JULY 29, 2015.

Edwin tells us about the wedding. “We had the wedding in the village where we stay. A pastor there, a good friend who understands much and who knows I am a gay and who knows about my relationship with Isaiah, brought a word – something like a service, for our wedding. We made a tent. It was just us and our guests, about twenty people. We said our vows to each other.”

 

Edwin Sikot’s Story

Edwin is 37 years old. Today, he is an ordained pastor with the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Kenya, serving the central church as a pastor in a rural church. Edwin, however, had his beginnings within a different denomination – the African Inland Church (AIC) – where he was first ordained and then later defrocked for reasons of his sexual orientation.

Edwin grew up in the African Inland Church in the local community of Nyakach, in the Kisumu area of Kenya. Immediately after graduation from high school in 1996, Edwin attended Kapsapbet Bible College, an AIC school, from 1998 to 2001, the year of his graduation. Upon graduation, Edwin was ordained with the AIC which is the church’s policy to ordain graduating students.

Edwin told us he was “born again in high school” and that “all the time I had a zeal to do ministry.” Edwin had a pastor-friend who mentored him and told him a medical doctor cannot operate on a patient unless he has been trained to do so. Neither can a pastor help with matters spiritual unless he has been educated in spiritual matters. With his zeal for ministry and with the pastor’s mentoring, Edwin decided to go to Bible college. The pastor “helped me pay for my education,” Edwin said. “Not just from his own pocket but talking to his congregation to help make collections for payment for college.”

Edwin first came to know for certain that he was gay when he was in high school (secondary school), a boarding school. “I had the feeling I was gay early, but at the secondary boarding school I had the full realization; I knew I was gay.” Edwin said he had a friend at the boarding school who told Edwin “I don’t know what is wrong with me; I don’t have feelings for women. When I see men I want to be close to them.” Edwin told his friend he had the same story. “This made us go in deeply in searching about ourselves,” Edwin said. “He was my first boyfriend. After high school we went our separate ways.”

After graduating from Bible college, Edwin served with the African Inland Church as an assistant pastor. Only “months with the African Indland Church – that is when this issue came to be known that I am gay,” he says.

He explains that the question of his sexual orientation came up when he was being asked about getting married. “I was staying in the church house and I did not want to get married. I was telling them I was afraid of marriage.   They asked me why the high school friend would visit me at the church house.”

It was the district church council that was asking these questions. In a council meeting with Edwin, they wanted to know why he was more interested in his male friend from college than lady friends.

“They asked me if I am a gay,” Edwin told us. “You can bring a lady into the house, but I will have no feelings for her,” he told them.

That same day, Edwin tells us, the district church council sent him away. Edwin explains, “They want to see you making a family first – If you look at Timothy – husband of one wife – they build their policy from there.”

One of the attendees at the council meeting, who was more than 40 years in the ministry, and who was there to advise only and who was Edwin’s mentor who knew Edwin well, told the council to be patient with Edwin, that this was not his nature.

The council wanted to know Edwin’s plans for a future marriage. “I cannot marry,” Edwin told the council. “I will not put someone in slavery.” Edwin tried to reason with the council. He told them God made cripples and that he, Edwin as a gay man, was only a mistake if a cripple was a mistake. Edwin reasoned with the council: No, both the cripple and a gay man are God’s creation; neither is a mistake. “If you accept a cripple, then you should accept me,” Edwin told the council.

The chairman said nothing. The meeting was terminated. Within three hours, Edwin was given a “letter of interdiction and excommunication.” The letter instructed him to leave the church house within 7 hours; to go out of the church compound. “It was hard for me to receive the letter,” Edwin told us. “But I had to leave.” In addition to his removal from the African Inland Church, it was “announced to the church members that no one should talk with me,” Edwin said.

Edwin left his belongings with a pastor of another denomination until he could sort things out. Edwin was given no money as severance pay.

The council was handing Edwin over to the devil, Edwin explained, so that, in the end, he could be saved.

“I left for home,” Edwin tells us. “My mother knew that I was gay. Edwin tells us that his mother was part of the East African Revival and that because she openly accepted her son, she could no longer fellowship with those of her Christian community. “I stayed with my mother for one and ½ years. They told her she must send me away.” Edwin tells us that when his mother died she was not given an AIC burial. Instead, a rural dean from an Anglican church buried her.

Edwin tells us that even today he honors his mother’s grave. His mother would tell those who rejected her for accepting her son, “If you have a son who is a drunk, do you leave him? If you have a son who steals, do you leave him?”

Through a friend, Edwin became employed with the Lutheran church in Tanzania teaching adults how to read and write. He was with them for seven years.

Edwin returned to Kenya in 2012. He returned briefly to the AIC church. At a mid-week Bible study, a mother was preaching. “To see their reaction,” Edwin tells us. “The hyena is back,” said the mother-preacher. “You Christians be careful. No one should talk with him.” During the tea time, no one gave Edwin a cup of tea.

“I left my home area and went to Kisumu,” Edwin tells us. “I started going to an Anglican church until one day the priest asked me about my background. It seems he heard some gossip and asked me if I was gay. I never hide, I never hide. I told him that ’yes’ I am a gay. He said ‘no,’ you cannot fellowship with us.”

Edwin tells us that this was around the time that Gene Robinson was being made a Bishop in the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire in the United States.

“I was yearning to fellowship with people,” Edwin tells us, “not just to do ministry but to share with someone. I met Father John Pesa of the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Kenya. I was open with him. I didn’t want him to welcome me and then chase me away, so I told him right at the start my story.”

The Father accepted Edwin, as he has other LGBT people. Eventually, Edwin was ordained by the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Kenya. Rev. Michael Kimindu spoke at his ordination. Presently, Edwin is pastoring a small church of the Holy Ghost Coptic Church in a rural area with about forty members.

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This interview with Edwin (and Isaiah) was made on July 19, 2015, in Mtito Andei, Kenya. The blog was written from the interview-notes on July 20, 2015, in Mtito Andei, Kenya. This blog was published to the Internet on July 29, 2015, from Roayla Bali Beach Club, Puri Buitan, Manggis, Bali, Indonesia, in the vicinity of Candidasa, Bali, Indonesia.

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On October 14, 2015, after “hiding” this blog from the public for some time, it was opened to “public viewing” in view of the fact that scores of websites had carried this story, giving it wide distribution (see links below).  The following changes were made to this October 14, 2015, publishing:  (1) All photos were removed (five in total) from the blog, (2) Isaiah’s story was taken down, (3) the August 11, 2015, Gay Star News quote was added to the introduction of the blog, and (4) also added to the introduction was this:  “for the declared purpose of, and with the explicit permission of the interviewees, to publish their story with photos here. Their story was first published here, to the Internet, on July 29, 2015.”

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This Kenyan pastor and his partner have become the first to publicly marry – and now they have to flee – Gay Star News

First Gay Couple to Publicly Marry in Kenya Forced to Flee Country – Frontiers Media

Pastor And Boyfriend First In Kenya To Marry, Now Have To Flee – New Now Next

Gay Kenyan Lutheran Pastor Flee After Marrying His Boyfriend in Mtito Andei – Kahawatungu

Meet The First Homosexual Couple To Openly Marry in Kenya (Photos) – Mpasho

Forget Pastor Ng’ang’a, A Kenyan Gay Pastor Has Just Gotten Married To His Boyfriend. And Now They Are Planning To Run Off To Tanzania To Hide. (Photos) – Ghafla

Shocking news: A pastor officially weds his gay ‘sweetheart’ (photos) – Nairobi Gossip & News

Rencontrez le premier couple homosexuel a se marrier au Kenya (photos) [French]

{UAH} First Gay Marriage In Kenya – Uganda Daily Eye

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