Kenya Connection

Flooding and locusts destroyed crops in Kenya in 2019. It was a biblical-level disaster but with our global United Methodist connections, New Paltz United Methodist Church (NPUMC) was able to help. 

The NPUMC Relationship began on a street in Nairobi when Ann Craig and Karen Seyfert met the Rev. Kennedy Mwita at a church march for full inclusion and gender equality. The march was organized by church leaders who welcomed LGBTI people in their congregation, and at the head of the march was a Salvation Army band. Everyone was dancing their way through a misty, muggy day.  Ann and Rev. Mwita began to walk and talk about the special General Conference in 2019.  With the help of NPUMC and many individuals, Rev. Mwita arrived to itinerate in the NY Annual Conference and to attend the 2019 Special General Conference. 

Rev. Kennedy is outspoken about the full inclusion of LGBTI people. Intersex people, face unique challenges. Too often, the mother is blamed for the gender complexity of their child, and they are both kicked out of the family. Rev. Kennedy became known for his open-minded and open-hearted ministry as he advocated for HIV education and health care, and the elimination of the practice of female genital mutilation. Families turn to him for support and spiritual care.

So, when disaster struck, the community reached out to Rev. Kennedy, and he reached out to his United Methodist friends. New Paltz UMC was there to literally provide seed money for an agricultural project. Rev. Ken used the $8000 raised by members of the church to form an Agricultural project that benefitted the whole region.  Representatives from the seed company accompanied the seed corn to ensure the cooperative used it most effectively. The crops grew and the community stayed together to join their efforts to help the whole region. 

Of particular note is the outstanding news coverage of the agricultural project by United Methodist News Service which gives honorable mention to New Paltz UMC. ( 

Over the last four years, NPUMC has contributed to windows for the clinic, a well for clean water, the agricultural project, a church building, and scholarships for more than 20 students making their way through high school and college. 

We are helping this community in rural Kenya, and they are inspiring us with their resilience and leadership for their community and the whole United Methodist Church.