Standing amidst rolling hills at the heart of Makueni County surrounded by farm houses and patches of maize and fruit trees is an unassuming relic — African Inland Church (AIC), Kalamba.
The church complex owes its existence to the work of European evangelists who traversed the countryside in the 19th century to spread Christianity.
The writing at the gate announces that this is the epicentre of the Africa Inland Mission (AIM) in the region.
The church’s features are reminiscent of the 19th century era: baked mud bricks, tin roof, foundation built on a boulder and arches on the windows and doors.
Inside the quaint church are files of wooden pews standing on the uneven rocky floor beneath.
This church was built in 1932 to replace the very first one that the missionaries built using local materials.
Curious scholars studying how the Christian mission that birthed AIC chose to settle at this place return fascinating accounts.
Watson Omulokoli, for instance, says that the man behind the AIM, Reverend Peter Cameron Scott, had sailed from Scotland and, on landing in Mombasa in 1895, trekked for two weeks into the countryside, other missionaries in tow.
Their intention was to penetrate as far as possible into the interior and establish a Christian mission far away from the coastline where other missionaries had already set base.
Mr Omulokoli’s account, which was published in 1995 in the African Journal of Evangelical Theology, concurs with the church history as chronicled in the AIC website.
It states that Scott came from the US “though he was not born in America”.
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SOURCE: Daily Nation, Pius Maundu