History of the Nairobi-Newton partnership
The inception of the 22-year international mission partnership between Newton Presbytery (Presbyterian Church USA) and the North, East, and Central Presbyteries of Nairobi Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) occurred through the effort of a former Newton Presbytery pastor, Rev. Keith Barclay. Returning to Kenya in 1986, he led a poor rural community’s residents in the construction of a five-kilometer pipeline to enable safe water delivery to their Kibwezi area village centers. Several Newton congregations, inspired by the need and by Rev. Barclay’s commitment, undertook the funding efforts necessary to realize the completion of this project by 1993. It also inspired Newton individuals to travel to see the work first hand and meet the Kenyan villagers.
Tangentially in 1994, the Newton Presbytery Mission Committee obtained PCUSA approval for a formal partnership with the Nairobi Presbytery, with Kibwezi’s Bethel Church, being an “outreach,” associated with Nairobi Presbytery. Within the year, Newton Presbytery congregations had expanded involvement to include primary school scholarships for village children. Pursuit of the dream of a community health clinic was also initiated at that time. The Stated Clerk of the Newton Presbytery, Rev. Charles Ringe, spent six months of 1996 in Kenya working to solidify and acculturate a formal partnership for the relationship. Nairobi Presbytery accepted Newton’s request to manage the scholarship and clinic projects on behalf of the new partnership. Within a decade, the rapid growth of the PCEA required division of Nairobi Presbytery into three new ones (Nairobi East, Nairobi North and Nairobi Central), each of which desired a continuation of the Partnership with Newton. To accommodate this change, a cooperative Partnership Board was created by the PCEA participants.
Watch our history below