Men are the founders of religion dating back from the Biblical apostles to the disciples, but the trend is slowly changing and women are slowly taking over the leadership roles in most of the churches.
The gradual change in the number of men in most churches and religious events has not gone unnoticed, mainly in the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches across the country.
According to Pew Research Center (2016) “The Gender Gap in Religion around the World”, women are more devoured than men by several standard measures of religious commitment. The study also found out that an estimated 83.4% of women around the world identify with a faith group, compared with 79.9% of men. This means that an estimated 97 million or more women than men claim a religious affiliation worldwide.
In Kenya, Christian women report higher rate of weekly church attendance than men. Ann Mwaura, a curator at St. James Cathedral ACK Kiambu, confirms noticeable changes in men attending the church masses. “The number of women in the church is always higher than that of men. It is very evident that women are becoming the dominants of the Christian religion”, she said while talking to KNA from after mass today.
She said that having been at the church leadership for quite some time, she had witnessed men who were regarded as very religious quit attending masses and church related matters.
She further pointed out that the female dominance within the church and lack of balance was the main reason for men drifting away from Christianity. “In today’s Christian religion set-up, women have now fully established themselves with most of them taking up most important roles within the church.
Through this women have formed initiatives, forums and groups to empower other women within the church. The males as a result of this, feel neglected and unimportant in the running church affairs, thus resulting to their departure”, she continued.
She went on further to point out that the role of the boy child in the society has changed. The girl child has been so much empowered that the boy child is being neglected, this qualifying as a reason even young men do not want to go to churches claiming that they are women oriented.
Pastor Samuel Chemworor of Gospel Revival Centre (GRC) explained to KNA through a one on one conversation why men are not as religious as they used to be before. “Men keeping away from religion has been evident even at our church. When we started the new branch in Kiambu, the number of men was 35 with a total number of 53 church members, today the last service had a total number of 70 members with barely 25 men in the church”, he stated.
Pastor Chemworor blamed alcohol as the main factor that has contributed to dragging men behind He explained that most men overdrink on Saturdays which they consider as their off work day and were unable to wake up on Sundays and attend church. He advises those that must drink alcohol to take it in smaller amounts considering that they should go to church the following day to give thanks to the God who gave them the opportunity to drink.
Reverend Alphaxad Chege of the AIPCEA, Kirigiti blamed traditional cult groups for the reduction of men in churches. “Men have formed traditional groups in which they attend on church days and are now using them as substitutes for Christianity”, he said.
He emphasized that men should drop their egos and accept to take on the challenge imposed by women in church leadership and reinstate themselves as religion founders.
James Kiarie, a resident of Kiambu and a former follower of the Catholic Church spoke to KNA through a one on one conversation and explained the reasons for quitting church. “When my wife and children go to church, I do not feel the need for me to also go to church because am already represented by my family,” he explained. Evans Wachira a resident of Kangoya village in Kiambu Sub also spoke to KNA through a one on one conversation and pointed out that he quit church because it did not ‘meet his needs’ and that everything about it was women related.
He claimed that even the choir was conducted by women in almost every service and this annoyed him leading him to quit. He confessed to be now a member of ‘Gikuyu na Ngai Witu’ (Kikuyu and our God) traditional cult.
Anthony Jeremy, who could not give his true identification is the leader of the group and said through a phone interview that “the group is registering bigger numbers of men who have ran away from those female oriented churches. This is because they feel that they are well recognized in this group as compared to churches,” he said.