A man in Ebushiloli Mwilonje-Vihiga County in the past became a ‘pastor’ at his son’s burial because he could not raise the Sh5,000 church fee needed to have the men of the cloth preside over the ceremony.
Shadrack Andrew Opekwa, who lost his 2-year-old son to severe malaria presided over the last prayers for his departed baby. His boss had given him Sh8,000 to fuel the vehicle that transported the infant’s body home, where his rural home church pastor Margaret Walukoye asked for Sh5,780 to buy three chickens, three kilos of meat, four kilos of flour, three litres of milk, one kilo of sugar and vegetables.
He was also to keep an ‘envelope’ of Sh2,000 for the pastor to carry home after the burial.
Jonathan Wafula, a resident of Kimilili, says pastors go to funerals with strange demands that often leave the bereaved discouraged and hurt.
On demanding choice foods, Wafula says pastors who come to preside over funerals should be ready to take any food given just like any other mourners.
Catholic Diocese of Embu Bishop Paul Kariuki during an ordination of four priests and six deacons at St Paul and Peters Cathedral urged priests to quit misusing offerings at funerals to fund their drinking habits.
It is also told of some pastors’ who demand that the bereaved families provide for their logistical expenses, which may be inclusive of being sent a taxi to bring them to the funeral. Bereaved families may also be made to send the preacher money to “buy fuel” even if his home is a stone’s throw away.
A family in Kisumu had to beg a church to bury their own who had died in Mombasa. The Kisumu mainstream church got trick from their sister church in Mombasa to the effect that the deceased was not a churchgoer. Her husband too, the Mombasa church said, was a non-believer.