The year is 2013.
A group of young people sit at a friend’s house, chilling, talking, hanging out…
One thing unites them. They are all different; at least the society says they are. They are queer people who have found friendship, acceptance, and understanding in each other. They meet often to talk about life; about their cares, joys, and dreams.
On this particular day, a topic that is almost always controversial if not painful comes up. They are talking about religion. Their collective experience with religion up to this point has been one of hate, rejection, and condemnation.
Most among them can’t even remember the last time they stepped into any faith space. The memories are just too raw and too painful for some. And yet, there are a few among them that feel a connection, a need even, to connect with something, something inexplicable and bigger than themselves.
It is from this meeting that the seed for what is now the Cosmopolitan Affirming Church was sowed. The group went on to form a YouTube fellowship exploring different faith experiences, looking for messages therein that affirmed them and confirmed what they already knew and felt within; that they were enough. That they were complete human beings, deserving of love and dignity.
Since that meeting, we have come a long way as a fellowship. Ours has been an exciting journey marked by challenges, lessons and many, many wins too.
Over the years we have opened our doors to many in search of a safe space to worship their God and for communion with others. Consequently, we have encountered people from different races, religions, faiths, gender & sexual identities and even some with radically differing opinions. This has contributed greatly to the experience and culture of CAC. It has taught us that there is strength in diversity. It has also taught us tolerance and acceptance, inspiring and guiding us towards our vision of radical inclusion for all.
This is not a journey we have made by ourselves. We have had amazing friends, partners, and allies that held our hand and nudged us on. Some gave us a place to meet and fellowship. Some gave their time, finances and resources. Still, others did and continue to fight and advocate for the humanness and dignity of our members and the wider LGBTIQ community. We acknowledge and celebrate the role of all these essential partnerships, even as we look and plan ahead for the years to come.
This celebration of our 5th year is especially emotional and surreal for us, and for our global partner TFAM, who have walked with us right from the word go, from a time when our very existence was an impossibility. Their support has been invaluable to us as a fellowship and this is a celebration for the entire TFAM family, as much as it is for CAC.
At 5 years old, we are proud to say that we’ve come of age. We have a congregation that meets every week under the leadership and guidance of a council of pastors and ministers. We have in place systems, ministries and departments that engage different members of our fellowship, ensuring they participate and play part in the writing of our story.
We have launched economic empowerment projects aimed at uplifting the economic realities of our fellowship and her members. More such projects as still in the works. In the same line/breath, we remember to challenge our members to remain proactive and dedicated in the pursuit of their own dreams, because we believe that given the chance, we all have the power to change our situations.
We’ve been blessed with opportunities to give back to the society and also to minister to other discerning congregations that welcome us. This is part of our efforts to create safe, inclusive spaces not just at CAC, but also within other faith spaces.
We have also had engagements with the civil society, media, and members of the clergy, as we advocate for justice and inclusion for all. Recently, we have spearheaded the formation of the United Coalition of Affirming Africans (UCAA), a movement comprised of religious leaders, which will act as a voice, bringing faith perspectives to interconnected social justice issues in Kenya and beyond.
Our dreams are boundless! They excite and scare us with equal measure. Still, we remain strong. We know that with the support of our members, our partners and with God on our side, anything is possible!
Happy 5th CAC!