A Kenyan who has led the New Zealand Church Missionary Society since 2008 has been elected the 11th Bishop of Nelson.

The Rev Steve Maina, 48, brings a “proven mission focus to all aspects of his ministry and is widely respected for his energetic and innovative proclamation of the Gospel,” said the three archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.

“I would say that I feel terrified,” Maina said. “Can a son of Africa really do this? Someone from Kenya?”

He sees a clear continuity between his work at the society and the mission he will soon undertake in the Diocese of Nelson. Nelson has a longstanding tradition of electing bishops from evangelical backgrounds.

“Challenges from secularism, individualism, materialism and consumerism — we have a society which is ‘pushing God out,’” the bishop-elect said. “We are seeing God at work in many places within the church — but I also see the challenges of apathy, decline, and lack of confidence in the Gospel.”

Maina, a former leader of the Church Army in Kenya, is a graduate of Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. He is married to Watiri and they have two teenage daughters. The Mainas became New Zealand citizens in 2009.

John Martin

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