Rev. Dr. John Gatu.

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The Presbyterian Church of East Africa wishes to announce the passing on of The
Very Rev. Dr. John Gatu.  The Church Father passed on the evening of Thursday,
11th May 2017 at 5.20 p.m. at Karen Hospital where he was receiving treatment from
2nd May 2017 at the ICU after he collapsed at his Muteero home- Karen.  He had just celebrated his 93rd Birthday in March.

The Very Rev. Dr. Gatu was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) of the 9th and 10th General Assembly (1979 – 1985).  He was the first Africa Secretary General of PCEA (1963 – 1979) and was among the founders and pioneer of the World Council of Churches.  He was quite instrumental and pioneer of ecumenical movement in the African continent that led to the birth of All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC).  As the great Kenyan he requested the government to allocate land for the construction of AACC Offices which was granted at Westlands.   The Late Church Father as well got involved in the establishment of World Council of Reformed Churches.  An icon of this Church, he lived with dignity, preached with passion and worshipped with serenity.

Our Church Father was a key Architect and founder of Jitegemea philosophy and lobbied for the issue of moratorium and had an opportunity to address the Church at the GAC in April 2017 at Alliance Girls High School just a week before being hospitalized.

Though saddened by the death of this great man, we thank God for the time and service of our Church Father.  The entire PCEA send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our departed hero, mentor and father.

The peace of God be with you all.

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8 replies
  1. Rev. Isaac Njue Mpungu
    Rev. Isaac Njue Mpungu says:

    Write Tribute…The Very Rev. Dr. John Gatu! You were known to me as a mentor, a friend, a counselor and more so a father who really showed and demonstrated godliness and diligence in his service to the Church of Christ. Now that father you are gone to be with your maker, we are left mourning your departure but with tears of joy because you knew where you were going. What a joy to know that you have left a legacy, that a warrior worth his salt wold leave, that any serious servant would like to emulate. We won’t forget you famous song during funerals “Thi ino ndiri na uhuruko na ndiri na handu kundu gwitu no matu-ini …” Fare Thee Well father till we join you to that glorious paradise. R.I.P. Loving son Rev. Isaac Mpungu.

  2. James Nyawira
    James Nyawira says:

    Our joy comes from knowing that we have not lost the late Very Rev John Gatu for we know where he is. Being with the one he served and loved, is far better than being in this body.
    The Church Father was a leader, a mentor, soldier, poet and minister of the Kingdom. Even though he is gone, his faith shall speak forever
    The challenge for us is, what mark shall we live behind when we are gone?

  3. Rev. Josh Mutwiri
    Rev. Josh Mutwiri says:

    The Rev. Dr. John G Gatu has died. Rev. Gatu died on 11th of May, but I could not send my hearfelt prayers fast enough; I was dealing with the theft I had encountered in the morning hours. Personally, given the many times that I have mentioned the Rt. Rev. Gatu in my blogs showed that I was to be deeply affected, when this arrives.
    I think there is a clear magine between crying, and weeping. The later be mine.

    I can now join other clergymen in eulogizing Gatu.
    I wept yes. I developed nasal blockage. Usually when you weep, only God knows where homa comes from. Previously my nose was dry.My eyes clear.

    My weeping comes from the memories of a towering Gatu during my formative years in High School, and immediately thereafter.
    I first well got to hear Gatu expound Scriptures at the kaaga Girls’ High School on 15th August to !8th August, 1996. Those days he was the key speaker in such gathering that would attract people, to the tunes of thousands. Probably there were ten thousand men and women in attendance, plus very many radio cassette owners competing for space. Every one wanted to record Rev. Gatu.
    Then, I in the next year, 1997 got to hear Rev Gatu more, at the Eldoret Girls’ High School.
    It was an Eastern Africa youth Convention, and by God’s grace I had a presentation too. I had a thematic own composed shairi.
    Gatu usually, did not travel alone. In tow was the keen Psychiatrist friend Dr. Samuel Gateere.
    From then onwards, I got many more chances to learn from him, till lately when I came to Nairobi to meet him now old and sitting at the back at our UFUNGAMANO Meetings. The Rev. Mutava Musyimi was then the General Secretary of NCCK.

    As I read the Weekender leading press in Kenya, my interest was not so much what was said but the space accorded.
    Exactly, Dr. John G Gatu, having been the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa would mean that his church, can afford such space in Daily Nation.
    Else, Dr. Gatu having been the Deputy of the All Africa Conference of Churches would mean AACC can likewise buy enough space. Same to the EARF and same to “Relatives, Friends and Family” routine. But Gatu was a man that media have always wanted to cover.

    While alive, Dr. Gatu had graced every Christian magazine. From the STEP magazine, to the WAY magazine, to the Revival Springs Magazine, the Methodist Digest and down to as other secular magazines like Parents, in the MARRIAGES THAT LAST section.

    Dr. Gatu PhD, happens to have been the first church minister, in the mainstream church combined, to go flying for further Studies.
    Gat was an extremely brilliant mind.But this is NOT what is counting.
    Likely, what is counting, and this is what can help your ministry and mine, is Gatu’s prayer life, and social ecumenical [not social economical] coperation and contacts; and influence.
    I should not forget that I had met Dr. Gatu in my standard Four CRE text book.
    In our days, religious Education text Books were to be endorsed by serious preachers. It was the signature of Dr. Gatu’s.

    The stocky brown man spoke impeccable Queen’s English. Same to Kiswahili. Himself being a journalist and a poet. A genuine Scholar and gifted beforehand. He never wore suits; just Kaunda. Many of them and on cold crusades, a cardigan over moderator’s royal blue clerical shirt.

    What makes some preachers have impact and not the others? PhD? No. Some different color of clergy shirt? No. Tongue Twang? No.

    Gatu had biceps yes. He worked in military, and has said that he can eat anything if it is not steel wool.

    Gatu had unbreakable daily resolutions;
    one being that;
    Anointing breaks the yoke. Another being, ‘today, as I go to the podium, it is not business as usaul. Hell must loose men and women to God’s Kingdom…and I happen to be the man of the moment.
    Gatu did not display these resolutions on a branded T Shirt.
    He did not tell anyone even over a cup of tea. He was like, learn from what I am doing.
    His voice was a husky deep barritone.Often, he used his right hand to gesticulate. All fingers straight open. He had a walking style that looked rehearsed; showing energy confidence and vitality.Hair combed backward with a scratching comb, but this being out of necessity for his generation’s clergymen.

    I was educated, myself, in a reputable Presbyterian School. Reputable by all means in our time. Again, I conducted oral interviews from across denominations.

    You ask a man [I did write this in my premonition few months ago concerning this minister] if they knew Jesus as their personal saviour and is like they are reading from a script, save the date and venue.
    ‘Yes, I know Jesus. …at Kahuhia and Gatu preached and I came forward crying. Another says ‘Yes, at Thogoto; as Gatu made an altar call. Another says ‘Yes, at Tumu Tumu as we sang Ka i wi mwega atia Jesu after Gatu had preached. ‘Yes. Shanzu,katika mkutano mkuu Gatu. Yes, Kaaga Gatu. Yes Chogoria Gatu. Ok rest in Peace Gatu.

    The Rev Dr. JOhn Gatu’s death is a convocation. It is a ministerial retreat.

    Why is Dr. Gatu’s death a ministerial retreat? It is because we, unlike the Revivalists of yesterday, like quoating. I think we abnormally quote. I think, we are a quoating generation.
    We quote Henry Newman. We quote John Wesley.We love quoting Albert Hastings. We love quoting John Stott. Personally it is known I love quoting William Temple, that former ArchBishop of Canterbury.
    Now, do not get me wrong. Get me well. That if Dr. Gatu’s death may teach ministers anything, it is to move beyond quoting.

    This is because we need to ask ourselves very very hard ministerial questions.

    We know John Wesley. But do we know the God of John Wesley?
    We know John Stott. But do we know the God of John Stott?
    We know James Steward. But do we know his God? This questions are important because, during my ministry years in High School, EARF and college, I have never met a man that said, “I got saved when someone quoted John Stott “in my hearing”, for instance.

    These questions are important, because we need to move beyond the man; and get to know their God. Gatu, may have left his mantle with any one of us in the Kenya Church, but, pray, what use has the mantle outside the God of Gatu’s?

    Prophet Elisha of Old did collect the mantle on the ground. He had seen it drop so he knew it was Elijah’s. Everyone knew Elijah was beyond a prophet found in Israel, yet see his question whilst the mantle still is in his hand; ‘Now Where is the God of Elijah’

    May He rest in peace.

  4. Anne N. Thiga
    Anne N. Thiga says:

    Our father of faith. You have fought the good fight you have finished the race, you have kept the faith. May the Almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace.


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