Formation and Development of the Council
The National Council of Churches of Kenya was established in June 1913 during the United Missionary Conference when the representatives of four missionary organizations signed a constitution to establish the Federation of Missions. The United Missionary Conference was the culmination of other meetings that were held in 1908, 1909, and 1911. The four organizations that established the Federation of Missions were:
- Church Missionary Society (CMS), today’s Anglican Church of Kenya
- Church of Scotland Mission (CSM), today’s Presbyterian Church of East Africa
- United Methodist Mission (UMM), today’s Methodist Church in Kenya
- African Inland Mission (AIM), today’s Africa Inland Church
The Federation of Missions was formed to facilitate effectiveness of the missionary organizations especially in the work of translation, education, industrial work and evangelism. It was also meant to promote unity of the church Kenya. As such, NCCK is the oldest ecumenical organization in Kenya.
With time, the name of the Federation was changed to reflect the prevailing context:
1913 – Federation of Missions (Federation formed to promote effectiveness of missionary organizations)
1918 – Alliance of Protestant Missions (Recognition that members were pursuing a common mission)
1924 – Kenya Missionary Council (Recognition that a single church was not possible while widening the scope of members)
1943 – Christian Council of Kenya (To allow participation of African Instituted Churches)
1966 – National Christian Council of Kenya (To embrace nationalism)
1984 – National Council of Churches of Kenya (to reflect that membership was by churches, not individuals)
Remaining true to the original vision, the NCCK has over the years worked to improve the lives of the people as summarized in the table below:
Decade by Decade highlights of Council’s Work
||Highlight of NCCK’s Work
|1900 – 1909
- Missionary activity intensifies, and a series of meetings are held (Vihiga 1907, Maseno 1908, Maseno 1909, Nairobi 1909, Kijabe 1909, Nairobi 1910, Nairobi 1911). The Missionaries eventually agreed to work towards a united self-governing, self-supporting and self-extending Native Church.
- In 1913, the first United Missionary Conference is held at Kikuyu, near Nairobi, where the Federation of Missions was established by four missionary societies.
- 1918: The name of the organization was changed to Alliance of Protestant Missions.
- Began the fight against female circumcision currently FGM
|1920 – 1929
- The Alliance represents Africans during the land questions discussions in London leading to the development of the Devonshire White Paper, which stated that Kenya primarily belonged to the Africans, and the interests of migrant races were to be subservient.
- 1924: Kenya Missionary Council (KMC) adopted as more representative body.
- The Alliance High School established in 1926, the first higher education institution for Africans.
- Influence on government policy on education
|1930 – 1939
- Kenya Missionary Council continued with rehabilitation of former soldiers.
- Mission health facilities and schools were set up targeting Africans.
- Advocacy against compulsory unpaid labour among the natives.
- Facilitated Race Relations interventions to enhance effective working relation between Europeans and Africans.
|1940 – 1949
- The KMC changed into the Christian Council of Kenya (CCK) in 1943.
- This was a period of expansion of social services delivery to Africans by the churches, at a time when the locals were neglected by the government.
- Use of media to deliver programmes on family life, education and bible teaching.
- Mechanisms for rehabilitation of former soldiers (2nd World War) were put in place.
|1950 – 1959
- Various interventions were established including Christian Community Centers and Urban Industrial Missions.
- The Limuru Conference and Training Centre was opened, the first one to bring together all races for joint courses.
- The Council was involved in missionary work in detention camps, and campaigned for an end of the emergency law.
|1960 – 1969
- The CCK organized a visit to Jomo Kenyatta in prison, and urged the Governor to release him.
- After attainment of independence, the Council intensified social services delivery, and in addition to schools, Rural Training Centres were established.
- This was followed by the opening of Village Polytechnics, an idea that was to be adopted by the government in the 1970s.
- Advocated for access to education by disabled children.
- The name of the Council was in 1966 changed to National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK).
|1970 – 1979
- Advocacy on land ownership and corruption.
- In subsequent years, the Council organized the “Kenya We Want” seminars.
|1980 – 1989
- The Council, whose name changed to National Council of Churches of Kenya in 1984, intensified efforts to urge for civil rights of the people.
- The Pastors’ Conference of 1986 condemned the adoption of queue voting by KANU government.
- Advocacy against massive rigging in the 1988 elections led to the banning of the Council’s publication, Beyond.
|1990 – 1999
- The NCCK Peace Building and Development programme established in response to the ethnic clashes that erupted in various places around the country in the early 1990s.
- To prepare the people for effective political participation, a massive civic education programme was implemented.
- Elections monitoring was organized during the 1992 and 1997 elections.
|2000 – 2009
- The Council continued to advocate for engagement by the people in governance
- Intensified civic education led to massive participation by the people during the elections of 2002 where the long-serving KANU party government was defeated
- Peace building programmes were effected after the post elections violence of 2007
|2010 – 2019
- The Council continues to build the civic competence of the people
- The Council engaged the national governance processes
- Active engagement in the Referendum process and subsequent advocacy for implementation of the new constitution
- County Coordinating Committees were established to align the Council to the counties established by the Kenya Constitution 2010
- Mediation and dialogue to safeguard 2017 General Elections
|2020 – Date
- Push for structured national dialogue
- Focus on food security, climate change governance and mitigation, health, education and governance
- Support to community to prevent and manage Covid-19 pandemic