By Victoria Magar
Culture is a way of living or doing things by a certain group of people, Religion, circumcision, food/meals and economic activities are some of the cultural practices used to identify and describe a way of living of a particular group of people.
Across the world, different people have different religions that are identified with different beliefs that encompass their spiritual culture. Christianity, Islamic, Buddhism, the Bahai faith, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish are some of the renowned religions around the world. However, every religion and denomination has its protocol and way of carrying out its worship culture.
African Israel Nineveh church Founded in 1941 after breaking from the Pentecostal assembly church of Canada, the African Israel Nineveh church like any other church has its beliefs, calendar of worship do’s and don’ts that must be adhered to by its members and anyone willing to join them.
It was founded by David Paul Kivuli with its headquarters located at Jebrok in Hamisi, Vihiga county,the church has its Sabbath day on Friday, According to Enos Mboya, bishop Kivuli received a spiritual message that made him come up with the church.
“He settled on Friday, a day that the holy spirit revealed to him as the day which Jesus Christ was crucified. To us, Sunday is just an evangelical day,” Mboya said.
He added on that day, the Nineveh church believers don’t attend to their errands or other duties other than praying and worshipping. “Our bishop strictly taught us that blood should not be shed on this day and neither should we skip it by going about other businesses that do not pertain to the church,” he added.
By not shedding blood directive, on this day of worship, the believers of this faith do not eat meat or slaughter animals.
“He [Jesus] sacrificed his life on a Friday, his blood was to be the last blood to be shed. He brought in peace, forgiveness and love,” Mboya further said.
Additionally, the Nineveh’s fast on a Thursday in preparation for the holy Friday. They do not participate in conjugal duties to keep themselves humble and pure before the onset of Friday. While at the church, members remove their shoes to honour the holy grounds of worship.
Just like the Biblical Moses was handed ten commandments, the church’s founding spiritual father prayed in the hills and commanded water out of a rock. In 1947, Bishop Kivuli is said to have started his miracles that have never been easily witnessed or done by priests and religious leaders of the modern generation.
“Holy Spirit guided him to Givavei hills [local Sinai] in Tambua where he received the ten commandments. “He later developed a strong spiritual power that saw him pray and fast until water came out of the rock of the same hill,” Mboya added.
According to the brethren of this church, this water was holy and sanctified that it was tapped by members to bless their homes while some used it to heal many ailments. At the aforementioned rock, Kivuli is also acknowledged for praying to the heavens during dry seasons until rain fell.
“He would go to the hill accompanied by other four to seven chief priests, fast and pray for seven days, miraculously, water could come from the rock and after drinking from a glass, the rains would start to end drought and famine,” Elizabeth Onyenga,a local of Givavei said.
Until now, Israel Nineveh church worshippers still pilgrim from the headquarter to congregate at the stone of this hill for prayers and worship.
“We still go there mostly during the Easter, Christmas and during ordination to carry on with the work that our holy father left us with,” Mboya said.
He elaborated that the hill is quite tranquil, with a small field for whoever wants to pray and give thanks to the Lord. A member identified himself as Zablon Masiza testified that he had received healing from the rock when he was in deep agony of suffering.
Church wrangles However, all has not been well for this church since the leadership was handed over to the pioneer’s grandson. When bishop Kivuli died in 1974, his wife Rebecca Jumba guarded the throne for her grandson John Mweresa until 1983, when he was fully grown to take the leadership mantle.
In 2014, the church broke into disputes over who to rule and for what duration, hence a rift that has seen the church led by two opposing bishops; John Mweresa who inherited the throne and Evans Chadiva who was constitutionally elected by the members.
This has sent the church operation into disarrays with a pending case at the Court of Appeal and a court order that has left the headquarters closed until all matters are fully settled. Trans-gender myth of the rock Beside this famous miracle rock, there seats another rock of about 50 feet high believed by the locals that it could change one’s gender either from male to female or vice versa.
It was believed that a boy or a girl wishing to change their gender was advised to gather up millet or sorghum in a basket, climb the rock’s peak with the stuff on his or her head and once there, his wishes will be granted.
“People used to narrate this form of myth but then again the rock is too high and too hard to climb, indicating an impossibility,” Eizabeth Onyenga objected.