The African group at the New Haven Church in Kansas City has a congregation of approximately 100-150 who regularly attend church services at New Haven. The group began way back in 2003 with a few families and friends from Kenya who gathered in their homes for Bible study and worship. They predominantly used the Swahili language during their meetings. The group has since grown to incorporate members from other African countries including Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria.
In 2017 Pastor Ezra Okioma, an associate pastor in Wichita South district, was assigned to guide and lead the group. The group has since drastically grown with Pastor Okioma’s commitment to training and empowering its leaders. The support of the other local pastors at New Haven Church has also helped in the growth and participation of the African community membership in the church.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the group gained more membership through regular virtual meetings. The first virtual camp meeting was held in May 2020 with over 200 members in attendance through Zoom. Three souls committed to be baptized that year.
The second camp meeting took place in August 2021. This period we held hybrid meetings where members attended virtually through the week but on Sabbath, we held a physical meeting at the church hall. During the meetings we covered various topics on health, prophecy, family life, youth, children and the sermon. Over 240 participated in zoom through the week and on Sabbath over 170 attended physically. Two souls were baptized as a result of the meetings.
This year, the group also held a hybrid camp meeting where over 300 members attended virtually through the week and on Sabbath the whole group met at New Haven Church together with other regular members of the church. Over 250 African members attended physically at the main sanctuary. Okioma said it was a blessing having various African speakers sharing messages of revival through the week. “Through these meetings, the church has been baptizing new souls who joined the church. The African group leadership is committed to reaching out to all cultures especially those from African descent in Kansas City for Christ,” Okima concluded.