Called to Serve God and Humanity through Peace and Social Justice

“Service to God begins with serving humanity, for there is a great accomplishment in bringing people of different faiths to sit on the same table and speak with the same voice.” – Ven Silas Micheni.

During the launch of Tharaka Nithi Interfaith Network 14th October, 2015 at Kathwana Primary School Grounds- Tharaka Nithi County. (Ven. Micheni is the second from right).

Ven Silas Micheni Thiginki is the Archdeacon of the Anglican Church, Tharaka Nithi and Meru County. He is one of the pioneers of the Tharaka Nithi Interfaith Network and has been a member since 2013 with a brief relocation to Meru in 2016 but fate would have it he moved back in 2019. Being part of the interfaith network has seen the transformation, peace and development of the County of Tharaka. He serves as the secretary of the Tharaka Nithi Interfaith Network (TIFN).  

When it comes to peace and security, Tharaka Interfaith Network has collaborated with the national government and the county government, to enhance the lives of the people of Tharaka through addressing issues that affect them. On numerous occasions, he has spearheaded the TIFN to work with the county commissioners and peace architectures in the county. In 2013, it held dialogues with the MCAs and managed to bring understanding in the County when peace was threatened. The IFN has managed to hold mediation and reconciliation during the health workers stalemate with the County government on working conditions and remuneration. Ven. Micheni has also been directly involved in holding interfaith prayers for the County for peace and unity of the leaders and the service delivery of the people of Tharaka Nithi.

The interfaith network has been involved in holding office bearers accountable. As part of the Interfaith, Ven. Micheni has spearheaded engagements by conducting Social Intelligence visits in the education, health and water sectors in the three sub-counties that have seen the inclusion of priorities in the social sectors into the county’s budget. He has also been involved in the social budget auditing in the county, this has seen members of the interfaith network highlight issues that needed to be addressed by office-bearers in the County. Markets in Tharaka Nithi have developed and advanced to the point of having designated places for mothers to breast-feed their infants; this can be attributed to initial involvement and discussions of the interfaith with the County government officials.

Tharaka Nithi Interfaith Network members at a press briefing (Picture Courtesy of The Star)

Working with the TIFN, Religious Leaders  have trained and sensitize numerous community members to participate in the County budget-making process and the need for public participation in such processes. This not only empowers the community but also gives a platform to hold the office bearers accountable.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about numerous challenges not only in the country but globally. It is a fight for each one of us; we all need to take apart if we are going to manage Coronavirus. The church and the people of God have been called to give hope and the TIFN has for the past twelve months stood up and took their position as servant leaders.  In liaison with the interfaith leaders the County government availed  thermo-guns, water tanks and sanitizers for use by churches and mosques in the county.

‘The County government disbursed equipment worth KES. 12 million in September 2020. Some of the small churches still have the sanitizers up to now”, Ven. Micheni

Members of the Tharaka Nithi Inter-faith Network meeting for Social Accountability Project on Social Budgeting and Budget Analysis on March 17th 2016

When people of different faiths come together to speak in one voice, it brings unity and progress. Through the interfaith network, the members continue planning for activities that influence positively the people of Tharaka Nithi. Ven. Silas is also a strong supporter of Social justice and a big advocate against the practice of FGM and early marriages.

He spends his time attending to extremely demanding pastoral duties with Christian faithful as a minister of the Anglican Church but still strives to spare time to champion for interfaith relations and action in Tharaka Nithi. Running the administrative aspects of the church is not an easy task but Ven. Silas manages to shuffle between his work at the church and attending interfaith duties during the weekend leaving just enough window for him to spend with his family. He is married with two children but despite his busy schedule, he still finds time to bond with his family.

Being involved in the TIFN has its challenges like finding a balance between running the church and serving the community. The managing and ensuring issues of the people of the county are addressed needs finances, which the Ven. Micheni sometimes has to dip from his pocket.

“I Can Do All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Me”- Philippians 4:13

Ven Silas Micheni.

The Ven. aspires to be the Bishop in his community, a position that he has applied for but his greatest motivation remains serving God and by extension His people. This is in line with his favourite verse:

“I Can Do All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Me”- Philippians 4:13

For now:

“The urge to serve the church and the community continues” – Ven. Silas Micheni.

By Mary Ndulili

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