Preacher stops Nakuru wedding, says 'standards' not met
- Pastor says he refused to officiate marriage ceremony because duo did not fulfil some of church requirements
- Bride’s family threatens unspecified action against pastor
All indications pointed to a perfect wedding. Everything was set. Cream and maroon had been unanimously settled on as the theme colours.
The couple, Joyce Waithera and Paul Waithaka, their families and friends were all looking forward to a great day.
The wedding was to be held at Mizpah House of Prayer Church in Bahati, Nakuru County, last Saturday.
However, in a shocking turn of events, the wedding did not happen after the officiating pastor cancelled it at the last minute.
It was a heart-breaking decision for Waithera and Waithaka, together with their families and hundreds of guests.
Waithera’s father, Henry Kamau, said they arrived at the church from his home in Gilgil around 10am expecting to have a great day.
“The family and friends of the groom picked up my daughter early in the morning. By 10am, we were at the church. However, we noticed that nothing much was going on save for the local choir singing,” said Mr Kamau.
Then the preacher, identified as Apostle Jesse Karanja, arrived and summoned the couple to his office.
Kamau said the preacher demanded that Waithera and Waithaka go for a medical check-up and bring him the results before he could conduct their wedding.
Most churches require couples to undergo pregnancy and HIV tests before they are joined in holy matrimony.
The couple is said to have returned to the church at noon with the results. However, the preacher kept them waiting for another two hours then demanded that they go for another test. This time, he specified the particular hospital he wanted the test done.
“We knew something was amiss when he directed them to have a second test without giving reasons. My daughter and her fiancé obliged hoping it would end of the torment,” said Kamau.
Prior to the wedding, the couple had gone for another medical test.
The results of the second test were submitted to the preacher at 4pm. He preacher called the couple, their parents and close friends to his office. He was said to have opened the results but said he did not understand everything the doctor had written.
“He said the results were okay but some sections were not legible. He then demanded that a health practitioner be brought to the church to explain what he couldn’t understand in the report,” said Kamau.
As the sun was setting, the congregation was growing impatient. People threatened to break into the preacher’s office but the man of the cloth called in the police, who rounded up several guests and bundled them into their vehicle.
Those arrested, including the couple’s relatives, were released later without any charges.
A few minutes after 6pm, Apostle Karanja announced that he would not officiate at the wedding as it was too late. The congregation was left speechless and started dispersing.
The Waithera and Waithaka got into separate vehicles and left the church compound.
The reception was at the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI), where hundreds of guests were already waiting. Over 300 seats had been arranged.
Daniel Kamau, a brother of the bride, said the budget was over Sh1 million. It took six months to plan the wedding.
“It is a waste. We have wasted money and time, not mentioning the torture the preacher has subjected the couple, their families and friends to. His behaviour clearly shows he was not willing to join the two in marriage,” said Daniel.
The families called in those living around KITI to eat the wedding feast as the couple was driven away in their different cars to an undisclosed location. Kamau lamented that Apostle Karanja had been an obstacle to his daughter’s wedding from the start.
“During payment of the pride price, he delayed the delegation at the church compound without any reason.
“We will decide what cause of action to shall take. My daughter is depressed and needs time to comprehend what happened. This is not justifiable.”
Waithera, who spoke to The Standard on phone, said she had no personal differences with the preacher and did not, therefore, understand why he cancelled her wedding.
“It was very embarrassing and heart-breaking for him to cancel our wedding after taking us through guidance and counselling sessions for five months. We had met all the conditions set by law and church. At no time did he mention we had erred in any way,” said Waithera.
Her fiance, Waithaka, said he was shocked by what happened. “It was painful for me. It was humiliating. We have yet to know the way forward.” Waithaka has been an interpreter at the church for many years.
Speaking during a Sunday service yesterday, Apostle Karanja, without giving details, said the couple did not meet the standards set out by the church for him to officiate at their wedding.
“Our church has set standards that must be met as far as birth, marriage and burial are concerned. The standards are not subject to discussion.”
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