The Rev. Carolyne Adhola dreamed of offering transformation to widows and orphans in the Anglican Church of Kenya. She used grant funds during the summer of 2022 to teach about discernment, the importance of a rule of life, and practice contextual Bible Study. She intended to plant trees together, and to celebrate a harvest Eucharist. She believed that congregations would also be transformed as the voices of the widows and orphans are uplifted.
While drought prevented her from implementing the planting and harvest project she envisioned, her other efforts were fruitful and will have lasting impact, both on the widows and on church leadership. She preached and taught throughout the Diocese of Bondo, engaging church members and (predominantly) male clergy, teaching about recognizing Jesus in the marginalized groups in their churches and communities. She held a discernment retreat for the widows, and invited clergy and the bishop to hear their witness. And she reached out to young single mothers; their children had been barred from Holy Baptism but Adhola baptized them and welcomed to mothers to church.
Among the significant, measurable effects of her work is the Bishop’s appointment of one of the widows as a lay Canon, and the new policy that young single mothers should be welcomed and their children baptized. She believes that the widows are affirmed in their witness of transformation through suffering, and will be a powerful voice in the church. They have started a rescue center for orphans, and hope to embody God’s transforming love by offering shelter and education to these vulnerable people.
Adhola believes that we may see Christ at work in the world in the hearts and lives of the marginalized in our society. She believes that evangelism is rooted in how the “other” can make Christ known to the faithful, inspiring church leaders to reverse oppression and seek relationship with the marginalized.