Saturday, April 13, 2024

Legion Maria Church beat ‘cult’ image with Sh200m hospital project

For a long time, believers of the Legion Maria of African Church Mission have been in loggerheads with authorities.

Members of the church have occasionally been in cut and mouse games with authorities for preventing their children from going to school.

Worst incidents have been some believers accused of rejecting modern medication, while embracing prayers for healing.

But in a surprise move, the church is all out to beat the strong myth which has seen it considered cultish.

On Saturday, the church laid a foundation stone of what would be a Level Four Hospital.

“There are diseases, however much we pray, we must seek the intervention of physicians,” said Arch Bishop Joseph Abuto, the church’s Administration Secretary.

Cultish image

Abuto noted acknowledged concerns which have been raised about the church’s position on modernity.

This, he said, has been because of cases of some people being healed through prayers in the church, after endless hospital visits to no avail.

There are diseases, however much we pray, we must seek the intervention of physicians

Archbishop Joshua Abuto

“Most people have not known that the Legion Maria Church was upholding people going to the hospital,” he said.

He added: “This was a challenge that forced the government to be closely monitoring the church. People were perturbed that patients would be withdrawn from the hospital to come for church healing through prayers.”

And in what looks like putting a rest to this notion, the church is putting up a Level Four Hospital at Marera Village, in Daraja Mbili, Kisumu West.

Members of the Legion Maria church during a past prayer meeting. (Photo: Courtesy)

Level Four Hospital

According to Paul Opondo, the Director of Cilneod Kenya, the construction firm implementing the project, it will take three years to complete the three-phased project.

In its first phase, the project will see the construction of a community clinic hosting an examination room, a pharmacy, a consultation room, patients’ lobby and abolition block.

This will be followed by another phase which will host outpatient section, 20-bed capacity maternity wing, 20-bed capacity pediatric section, and flat roof garden in its three-flour structure.

The section will also hold opticians, dentists, and gaenacologists clinics.

The final phase will host accidents and emergency area, radiology unit, biomedical unit, as well as Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit.

“This is a modern facility that will compete in the global level,” said Opondo.

Simeo Melkio Ondeto, founder of Legion Maria Church. (Photo: Courtesy)

The founder’s vision

Pope Raphael Adika, the head of the Legion Maria Church said the project is in fulfillment of the vision of its founder, Papa Simeo Melkio Ondeto.

“As a church, we value good health, and this project will have a huge impact in this area,” he said.

Bishop Elias Komenya, one of the senior leaders of the church said it the project management committee had several sites to choose from.

And that after a feasibility study, they settled on Marera village.

As a church, we value good health, and this project will have a huge impact in this area

Pope Raphael Adika

“The Pope comes from Siaya, and there are other senior church leaders who come from other parts of the country, and they did not prefer to influence the project to be taken to their areas,” he said.

He added: “We depended on professional advice that picked on this site out of the several parcels of land owned by the church in different places.”

Komenya asked Kisumu County Government to admit the project representation into the county health advisory committee, so as to ensure that they fully support the county in achievement of the provision of health services.

Fundraising

According to Arcbishop Abuto, the project idea was mooted three years ago, mostly supported by the youths in the church.

And after approval by the senior church management, members begun fund raising.

As at the time of laying the foundation stone, the church had raised Sh8 million for the project.

Legion Maria
Head of Legion Maria Church, Pope Raphael Adika blesses a stone during the laying of foundation stone of Sh200 million Level Four Hospital in Marera, Kisumu West. (Photo: Kevine Omollo, LRB)

“We had to start somewhere. As you can see, the project cost is Sh200 million, while we have only Sh8 million,” he said.

He noted that the church would reach out to well-wishers, including local leaders and President William Ruto to help in raising funds for the project.

“We are starting with the community clinic, which should begin operating as soon as possible, and this will be a motivation as we venture into the other phases of the project,” he said.

Legion Maria Church is an African initiated church which was registered in Kenya in the 1960s in the Luo region of Nyanza, and has since grown beyond Kenyan borders.

The founder, Baba Simeo Lodvikus Melkio Ondeto who was considered the black spiritual mediator became the first Pope. He died in 1991, and was buried at Got Calvary, in Migori County.

Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email: komollo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke omollokevine@gmail.com

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