Motivation and strategies for a holistic ministry to widows : the role of the Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya, in advocacy, counselling, empowerment and job creation.
In Kenya as elsewhere in Africa, women are economically deprived. This situation is exacerbated when a husband, who has been the sole bread winner, dies leaving his wife with no financial support to look after herself and the children. Traditionally, these women were cared for by levirate marriage. With the coming of modernization, care of widows has dramatically changed. It is in this understanding this study was undertaken to examine how the ACK Diocese of Nairobi, can explore some practical ways and means of dealing with issues affecting widows and address the cultural regulations that oppress, dehumanize and victimize them in the society and in the church. This thesis further examines how an African woman, living in a changing world can continue with her life once widowed. This is considering the fact that she is living in a male dominated society. After the first chapter, which provides background information, motivation and the research focus, the study proceeds with an investigation of what widows experience after their husband's death. Through the formal interviews the study asserts that widows undergo cultural marginalisation, emotional stress, financial insecurity and lack of meaning, control and purpose oflife. Then the study proceeds to a theological reflection on this experience in light of the word of God and the church. It points that it was a biblical tradition in the Old Testament and the New Testament to care for widows. The church is challenged to continue with this and redefine its original goal, at same the time rebuking the injustices in the society. In response to the experience of widows and the theological reflection, the thesis argues that there is need for a holistic four-fold ministry to widows in the ACK Diocese of Nairobi. It is argued that the church should be involved in the role of advocacy, counselling, empowerment and job creation. This is to help them regain their dignity, self-esteem, and become self-reliant. The thesis concludes with a set of practical proposals for the Anglican Diocese of Nairobi.