Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Tribute to the late David Gitari

2nd Oct 2013

2002: David Gitari Teaching on Leadership

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell has invited the Diocese of Chelmsford to pray in thanksgiving for the life and ministry of the late Dr David Gitari, Retired Archbishop of Kenya and for the Kenyan Dioceses of Embu, Kirinyaga, Meru, Mbere and Marsabit to which the Diocese of Chelmsford is linked.

Tribute to the late Dr David Gitari, Retired Archbishop of Kenya (1937-2013)

2011: Meeting Bishop Stephen and Roger Matthews at his
Philadelphia Place Conference Centre

As one of the youngest African bishops, David Gitari attended his first Lambeth Conference in 1978 when he was Bishop of Mount Kenya East in Kenya.

It was at that conference that he met the then Bishop of Chelmsford, John Trillo, and the partnership link between our two dioceses began.

During his time as Bishop he established St Andrew’s College of Theology and Development and the Christian Community Services organisation. He proclaimed a holistic gospel and saw the Church grow in numbers and faith, he developed the Church’s outreach in service to support healthcare, farming and education, and he provided the means to train ministers for the future.

He had the remarkable ability to initiate new projects, grow them to maturity and then reform them. He could see potential that was invisible to others and succeeded in releasing resources of money and people to make a real difference.

The Diocese of Mount Kenya East grew under his leadership and it soon divided into the Dioceses of Embu and Kirinyaga. Typically, he became Bishop of Kirinyaga – the diocese without the cathedral and with fewer resources. But it was not long before his gifts were recognised nationally and he became Archbishop.

David was fearless in doing what he believed to be right. He led the call against government corruption and survived what was widely thought to be an assassination attempt. His stature grew both nationally and internationally.

2012: Speaking at the St Andrew’s College Graduation Service.

And despite his standing around the world, he never forgot that meeting in 1978 and retained a keen interest in the Chelmsford link. He always made himself available to meet and encourage visitors, whether bishops or curates.

In his death, Africa and the Anglican Communion have lost one of their finest leaders and the Diocese of Chelmsford has lost a very great friend.

Dr David Gitari will be long remembered and his legacy will continue to bear fruit for the Kingdom he served for so many years. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!