Bishop Wafula breaks silence on bitter fallout with Pastor Ng’ang’a
“I am taking a sabbatical,” announced Bishop Robert Wafula with his thunderous, husky and hoarse voice that boomed through the speakers at Neno Evangelism Centre in Mombasa on May 26.
The preacher told his congregation he would be taking a break from the pulpit for some time.
The worshippers watched and listened in awe as the bishop made a proclamation they had never had before amid rumours of a fallout after a leaked video showed their church leader James Ng’ang’a publicly bashing his Neno bishops.
The church members looked at their embattled bishop straight in the eye perhaps pleading with him to break the silence over the matter and give them direction.
It was his last sermon in the church, a very emotional one.
But Bishop Wafula stood still with his head high and looked away while fighting back hot tears that were trying to give him away. He says he pleaded with God not to let him cry in front of the faithful.
TAKING A SABBATICAL
The preacher walks away from drama, because, he says, he hates chaos insisting that he is a peaceful man.
The man of cloth said he did not want to incite the worshippers but had to at least explain his long absence from the church, he owed them that.
The bishop says walking away from the church he led in songs and prayers for more than two decades is his biggest challenge yet and a decision he never thought he would ever have to make.
After minutes of inertness and with a deafening silence sweeping across the church, Bishop Wafula roared again, careful with his words.
“I want to take a rest… I have worked for more than 20 years without going on leave. It is time, I take a sabbatical.”
But, his body language, teary eyes and the sombre mood gave him away, worshippers burst into tears, many whispering while others deep in prayers.
Rumours were rife on social media that he was exiting.
He exclusively tells the Nation how he felt insulted by his friend, a father and a man he regarded as an Apostle, following the viral video that he insists was directed to him.
“It was a personal attack. I had to walk away. But sadly to date I don’t know why he condemned me. I don’t know my mistakes,” he insists.
“For more than 20 years, I have stood by him, defending him when he was facing difficulties and challenges in life, through moral support and prayers only to be… even when correcting or punishing a child, you must explain to him or her why you have taken the disciplinary steps. To date, I don’t know what wrong I ever committed,” he says.
It is the first time Bishop Wafula is speaking out about the matter after retreating on May 26.
His last Facebook post on the same Sunday, he wrote: “SIMAMA IMARA-Kutoka 14:13 Musa akawaambia watu, Msiogope, simameni tu, mkauone wokovu wa BWANA atakaowafanyia leo; kwa maana hao Wamisri mliowaona leo hamtawaona tena milele. (Stand still – Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.)”
But Bishop Wafula is not only taking a sabbatical. He has quit Neno Evangelism after more than 20 years leading the church from the pulpit.
“I was so down, if you had called me last week I couldn’t have spoken to you, you are the first journalist I am speaking to. I was in a turmoil but I am recovering. I am waiting for God’s direction,” he says confidently.
He says he is grateful to Pastor Ng’ang’a for his evangelical career which he can never repay neither betray him. He adds that if he were to be placed in a wrestling match with his apostle, he would remove his gloves and walk away or surrender.
“I can never fight him. I loved, respected and followed his teachings. I have never spoken ill about him. Even when he was facing challenges, I stood by him and told worshippers to pray for him,” he says.
As he turns 47 next week, the Mombasa-renowned bishop says he is waiting for God’s direction.
“I resigned after I saw the video which I believe was directed at me. It was a difficult decision, my family including my wife and four children have supported me. I wrote a letter and sent someone to give Apostle Ng’ang’a, he read it and never replied. He has never contacted me and neither have I,” he says.
In the video the head of Neno Evangelism says: “I want to talk to the bishops in my church, if you are not going to respect my wife, I will kick you out of my ministry… This time round, I will show you my power. Any woman who cannot respect my wife, change your church, exit mine… You found me in this ministry with your wives, you acquired wealth through my church… I swear before God, I will show you who Ng’ang’a is,” ranted the preacher.
He further said he would not serve with any bishop or their wives who cannot respect his spouse.