Problems Encountered by the Roman Catholic Church in Cheptais, Mt Elgon Region, Bungoma County During Sldf Conflict 2006-2008 Using Christian Liberation Approach
The study examined the challenges encountered by the RCC during the SLDF war in Cheptais division Mount Elgon region in Bungoma county using Christian liberation Approach. It aimed at investigating the problems and impacts faced by the Church. It therefore focused on empowering the Church to handle these challenges effectively as it strives to restore peace and reconciliation among the victims of war and the offenders who are the Ex- SDLF militias. The study was based on both the anthropological and theological as it examines the Church doctrines and theologian‟s reflection on liberation. The main goal of the study was to investigate challenges encountered by the Church in Mount Elgon region during the SLDF war using Christian liberation approach. It was achieved through the following specific objectives: To investigate the challenges facing the Church as a result of SLDF war in Mount Elgon Region, Bungoma county; To evaluate the impact of the SLDF war on the Church in Mount Elgon region, Bungoma county; To examine ecclesial teachings and theological reflections on liberation in view of fruitful Church ministry in Mount Elgon region; To draw summary, implications of the study, emerging recommendations and conclusion, and point out area for further research. The main hypothesis of the study was that there are significant Church teachings and theological reflections that can be applied in addressing the challenges of the Church, through proper Christian liberation approach in Mount Elgon. The study was guided by the following specific hypotheses: The Church faces challenges as a result of the SLDF war in Mount Elgon region Bungoma County that need to be addressed; There was a significant impact of SLDF war in the above locality; Theological reflections on liberation are necessary in helping the RCC address the challenges they encountered from SLDF war. Deducing from the hypothesis stated the Church and the families in Mount Elgon region are empowered to effectively handle the challenges they encounter with the view of maintaining peace and reconciliation as the “Family of God” within the Church. The challenges encountered by the Church in Mount Elgon region that need to be addressed through Christian liberation approach are very crucial in the current study. There are invaluable implications and emerging recommendations from the study that may be benevolently used to empower the Church and people in Mount Elgon Region. It will effectively embrace the challenges they are confronted with so as to be influential in their ministry of Jesus in advocating for peace and reconciliation. For instance, the Church as well as the government should put up structures that will enhance amicable unity, peace and reconciliation; it should put more initiative to support the small Christian communities in the Mount Elgon region. The study was guided in its methodology and implementation of the above objectives and hypotheses by three inter-related theories namely: Mediation theory expounded by Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff, Redaction criticism theory expounded by exponents such as Kasemann, Bornkamm, and Conzelmann among others and Choice theory a new psychology of personal freedom expounded by Glasser. Mediation theory guides the study in procedural way of data collection, analysis and way forward, through the three mediations namely: socio-analytical mediation; hermeneutical mediation and practical mediation. Redaction criticism theory complements the first theory as a critical tool of sourcing scientifically and in a scholarly manner from the Christian main sources i.e., Scriptures and Tradition. Choice theory focuses on human environment where they are prone to make and have options on how to behave of which the expression of their action are reflected from a personal preference. Those choices are imbued with an intrinsic drive which is associated with certain basic needs that are set up in the inborn structures of humanity. The theory helps to explain how the Church efforts in promoting peace, reconciliation and harmony in Mount Elgon region. The Church has to make a mindful choice in order to establish structures that will necessitate for a long enduring solutions in regard to making a practical outcome of solidarity, love and unity among the members of the Church viewed as the “Family of God.” The data was collected using both primary and secondary sources and sampling of the respondents was done through a Non-Probability purposive technique. From the study findings and analysis, awareness was created that the Church has the role of enhancing peace and reconciliation and as a custodian of social conscience. In that regard, the study therefore, calls upon the Church to effectively use her pastoral agents to collectively participate in enhancing love peace and reconciliation as a fundamental ministry encouraging people by providing proper significant pastoral care that would empower the members of the „Family of God‟ to be in better position to handle the effects of the compelling existential problems. In addition, the study pointed out some of the challenges the Church encountered during the SLDF war as well as the impacts of the war. Furthermore, the study explicated that the role of maintaining peace and justice is not only confined to the Church but to every individual and the community at large as the core principles to help in curbing the challenges encountered in their daily situation – each being enabled to play one‟s role towards the welfare and genuine realization of the “Family of God.” Moreover, through the use of Christian liberation approach, the study view Jesus Christ as a model of liberation that should be emulated by His disciples and followers in the contemporary society. Liberation was exemplified by Jesus who chose to be the poor though rich working with the poor and through His fundamental teachings and ministry through His exemplary life, death and resurrection thus having a good number of followers as the community of believers.
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