Religion in Kenya
No matter what their religion may be, Kenyans are exceptionally devout. Going to church on Sunday is an exuberant event that is absolutely not to be missed. The Bible (or the Koran) is the book of choice, knowledge of the scriptures is aspired to, praying is part of everyday life, amplified religious meetings are held in most public areas at lunchtime, religious icons and sacred tracts abound in home, office, and vehicles, and the majority of Kenyans are named after religious figures.
Kenya Religion – Churches in Kenya
There are more than 4,000 registered churches in Kenya, belonging to an innumerable variety of religious denominations. They can range from very mainstream churches, to lesser – known evangelical and gospel offshoots.
Churches in Kenya are predominately Christian, though many different denominations and congregations exist within the population. Overall, more than three quarters of the population identify themselves as Christian (either Protestant or Roman Catholic). However, many Kenyans mix their Christian beliefs with traditional beliefs (such as belief in witchcraft).
Most of the well-established churches in Kenya have their roots in early missionary work, when Europeans first took an interest in the area and they saw an opportunity to preach to a wide new audience.
Kenya Religion – Main Religion in Kenya
- Roman Catholics Church
- Anglican Church
- Full Gospel Churches
- Presbyterian Church of East Africa
- Africa Inland Church
- Methodist Church
- Baptist Church
Lately however, Kenya has witnessed the mushrooming of what are referred to as Pentecostal churches. In Nairobi, the most popular ones include
Kenya Religion – Pentecostal Churches in Nairobi
- Nairobi Pentecostal Church
- Nairobi Lighthouse Church
- Redeemed Gospel Church
- Deliverance Church
- Jesus is Alive Ministries
- Jubilee Christian Centre
Besides these denominations, there are numerous others with a significant presence in Kenya.
Religions in Kenya (2009 census)
- Catholic Population – 9,010,684
- Protestant Population – 18,307,466
- Other Christian Population – 4.559,584
- Muslim Population – 4,304,798
- Hindu Population – 53,393
- Traditionalist Population – 635,352
- Other Religion Population– 557,450
- No Religion Population – 922,128
- Don’t Know – 61,233
Religion of Kenya – Traditional Kenyan Beliefs
The spread of Christianity in Kenya has largely eliminated many of the traditional and tribal beliefs held by the people of Kenya, prior to contact with Europeans.
Kenyan tribes who most closely continue to live in their traditional ways, are the ones who also still hold their old beliefs. Christianity has not made much headway among the Samburu, Turkana or the Masai tribes, particularly. Overall, about 10% of the population still follow their African religion in Kenya.
For the most part, each tribe has its own set of beliefs, usually tied somewhat to their territory. Tribes that lived near Mount Kenya, for example, often believed that God lived at its peak.
Like Christians, Kenyans originally believed in a single creator God. “Ngai” or “Were” are common names for God, though not the only ones. Each tribe had its own creation myth, which usually attributes their tribe as being directly created by God.
Kenya Religion – The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)
Churches in Kenya are under the National Council of Churches Kenya. The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) is a family of Christian communions and organisations in fellowship and witness.
It was established in June 1913 during the United Missionary Conference held at Thogoto, near Nairobi. The delegates in the conference, representing the missionary institutions working in the country at the time, affirmed their wish to work towards a united church that would impact the lives of the people.
The National Council of Churches of Kenya is a family of Christian communions and organisations in fellowship and witness. A member of the NCCK must be registered in Kenya.
While recognizing that each church and organization has its own basis or order or doctrine, all the members of the Council accept a common doctrinal statement as a declaration of their essential spiritual unity.
In the doctrinal statement, the members of NCCK are united in confessing the faith to which the church has ever witnessed in One Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, worshipping the Father revealed to the world in Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
They also hold the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as being God’s revelation of Himself to the world, and that these contain all things necessary for salvation and are supreme and decisive standards of faith and conduct to which all teachings and all creeds and confessions are subordinate.
Religion in Kenya – Islam in Kenya
Islam is the second widely practised religion and the followers include the Sunni, Shia and Islamia. Muslims are about 10 per cent of the population.
Although Islam has spread throughout Kenya, the largest number of Muslims is found in the coastal region and North—Eastern Province.
Other parts of the country also have sizeable number of Muslims.
Kadhi’s courts have legal jurisdiction over personal law for the Muslims marriage, divorce and inheritance.