The bishop of one of Kenya’s newest dioceses, the Rt Revd Paul Korir, is passionate about leading the churches in his area into new forms of mission.
Established in January 2016, the new Diocese of Kapsabet, in the western part of Kenya, has been focusing on reaching young people and helping the next generation understand the word of God.
Bishop of Kapsabet talked to the Lambeth Conference team about leadership and how he believes the Anglican Communion can bring healing to a broken world.
How would you describe your leadership role as a bishop?
“As bishops and as leaders, we are entrusted with the mandate of being the stewards of the people’s spirituality. Bishops are also the vision carriers, somebody who has been given an opportunity to rally the people behind the vision, and it must be shared in a language that is understood by everybody.”
“I see myself also as a symbol of unity,” he said. “So, as a leader you are called to mobilise people around vision, around resources and around sustainability. You are called to serve. You are present, and you cry, and you share, and you celebrate with people. The ministry of presence is very, very important as a leader. So, for me, those are the three words that come to my mind when we think about the bishop, as the leader – their stewardship, service and mobilisation.”
What do you need to do as a leader to support people in your part of the world?
“We are called to go and make disciples, and Jesus commissions the Church to do that. I think the first priority should be mission, winning souls for Christ, evangelising so that we may continue expanding the Kingdom of God.”
Bishop Paul said making disciples, so that they are rooted in the word of God is also a priority. “Another priority is the question of education,” he said. “Bible literacy is very key, enabling Christians in the church to be familiar with and understand the word of God.”
According to Bishop Paul chaplaincy in schools and universities is an important way to reach out to children and young people. “I see that as a priority. It’s a matter of urgency in terms of acquainting the next generation with the word of God.”
He highlighted tackling climate change and helping make the church sustainable as two other priorities in his diocese. “We need to reorganise ourselves,” he said, “making a response to climate change as part of our mission agenda. And we need to equip the Church to be able to respond to the needs around the world… thinking globally and acting locally.”
What are your hopes for bishops as they meet together for the Lambeth Conference?
“The Lambeth Conference, is an opportunity to connect back to the sense of belonging. It’s family. I look at it as family coming together. It’s like coming back home to share our stories. We’ve been in the field, maybe others have been wounded, and we are coming back home. So, for me, that sense of belonging reminds us that we are not alone; we belong, we are a shoulder to lean on. I can’t wait to meet my brother and sister bishops just to share the narrative of the Kingdom of God. It’s a family. It’s a family gathering. It’s a Thanksgiving.”
How can the Anglican Communion be a force for good in the world?
“I think we need to serve like wounded healers. We need to be healing people who are hurting. The world we live in is really presenting hurts to the people, so let’s be a wounded healer. Let the Anglican Communion stand as a wounded healer so that we may heal and move forward. Let’s continue appreciating our structure, appreciating our administration, appreciating our challenges, and so on. But I think let’s look beyond that. We are a missional church which can stand the test of time.”
Bishop Paul said he believes the Anglican Communion should celebrate its identity. “I think sometimes, as the Anglican Communion, we write ourselves in small letters, we need to celebrate our identity. We need to celebrate our history and we need to celebrate our inheritance.”
He said, “I believe that each one of us should participate in enhancing the kingdom of God wherever we are. We need to be present in the life and ministry of where we are serving, right from the family circle, to the community, to the village, to the local church. And I think we need to put a lot of energy into strengthening the family, which will in turn strengthen the local church, the parish, and even the diocese.”
The Bishop said he hopes resolutions from the Conference will be taken seriously and put into practice at a local level around the world.
“Let us hold ourselves to account in terms of making the Lambeth Conference resolutions, to be like a covenant, because we are a family. So that when you go north, you go south, you go west, you go east, there is a sense of belonging. And we must include the laity, the majority of this Anglican Communion, let them be part of this… I think we need to open up and ask the laity to give us their lenses through which we can see the world around us and can influence change and policy. So that priest, or bishop, I would like to see that lay reader, that Sunday school teacher, those children who are in the church, rising and saying, ‘this is our church’, and holding it and participating and moving on.”
“I would love us to be an outward looking church when we meet at the Lambeth Conference, let us hit the road running in terms of climate change, HIV AIDS, the Covid-19 pandemic. I pray that the Anglican Communion will rise to the occasion… advancing the Kingdom of God, as we hold our hands and move forward together.”