In a landmark meeting this month, leaders from the religious community in Kenya were hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the city of Nairobi.
The Church is reaching out across the region to work with inter-religious groups on shared priorities and common challenges.
Elder Thierry K. Mutombo and Elder Ian S. Ardern, General Authority Seventies and counselors in the Africa Central Area presidency, welcomed religious leaders from Muslim, Hindu and Christian faiths to a business lunch and open house in the Upper Hill Ward meetinghouse on May 9.
The event was held in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
Elder Ardern said enjoying a meal together is a good way to overcome barriers and to build bridges.
“We wish to get to know you, and that will never happen from reading about you,” Elder Ardern said at the meeting. “Any church is best defined by its members, and therefore it was important to us to gather and learn of and about each other. What unites us is far greater than what our theological differences are.”
The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya unanimously agreed to include the Church in any way possible going forward.
“This is an amazing thing,” said Bishop John Warari of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya. “This is a landmark moment in the history of interfaith in Kenya.”
The council chairman, the Rev. Joseph Mutie, welcomed the Church to the council’s family, saying: “Thank you for your gesture of kindness and love in hosting us here today. My prayer is that we will work together as a family and see what God has called us to do together.”
Elder Ardern gave a presentation showing the Church’s humanitarian efforts, work in religious freedom and extensive collaboration with other religions.
Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum, or NAMLEF, of Kenya, said: “Elder Ardern spoke from his heart with passion. He is a Christian; I am a Muslim. He could have been speaking in a mosque; he was just not quoting the Quran. We are in complete harmony. All of us as a people of God must work together to serve humanity and to serve God. As NAMLEF, we are ready to work with you. I will be the first to support you.”