Kings Family CMS Link Letter 5, Dec 1986

by Graham Kings

Date added: 26/12/2023

I am writing this while invigilating an exam. It is rather like a vigil for me, with quietness, concentration, seriousness, and an opportunity to reflect and to pray.

Watching students trying to pour out their learning and experience over the past year or years makes me realise that I am being examined too. How effective have I, and the rest of the staff, been in our teaching and exploring together with the students? Has it gone right over their heads?

Someone once described a lecture as, ‘information passed from the lecturer’s notes to the student’s notes without passing through the mind of either.’ The tradition here has been to try to issue duplicated hand-outs during lectures, and to allow class time to be used for expanding these and answering questions. The amount of interaction in class has been encouraging this year, particularly in doctrine lessons and I have learned a lot from the discussions and from having to think on my feet.

Being with students as they write gives me time to assess my relationship with each of them and how they are growing in Christian maturity. Some of them I know well from visiting their homes. This term our whole family spent a weekend with Joseph Gichunge, northeast of Mount Kenya, for the opening of his new church. The church he started joined the Church of the Province of Kenya (Anglican) last year, from an independent denomination: historically, the movement has usually been in the opposite direction. Although he is an experienced Evangelist and Pastor, he is committed to completing three years training here for ordination.

Other students I do not know so deeply. A couple have more than a touch of pride and arrogance and have had a difficult term with their fellows as a result of this. Many reflect the humility, joy, and peace of Christ.

There are 17 first years, including four from other dioceses, and they are taking the end-of-year exam for the St Andrew’s Certificate. This is part of continuous assessment with written assignments in the first two terms of each year, together with reports of their Sunday placements in local churches and their month-long placements over the Easter vacations.

There are seven third years, including three from other dioceses, and they are sitting the new Provincial Certificate of Theology, which is set and marked by the staff of the various diocesan institutes and is just above ‘A Level’ standard. The Principal is chairman of this examination committee. At the moment, there are no second years: a year was missed out due to the shortage of staff before we arrived.

Thank you for your prayers for our electricity. We were connected last April – sorry to have forgotten to mention this momentous event in our last letter. In mid-December we move to the Benson’s house next door but one. This has an extra bedroom, and separate schoolroom, which will be a great advantage for concentration. They are going on leave for seven months, and on returning will live in Embu, a town 17 miles away. We will all miss each other, especially the children. Paddy and Eleanor, with the Principal Gideon Ireri, have built up the Institute from scratch over the last eight years, and they have particularly been a great help to us settling in.

Rosalind spent the night in Faith Wanjiku’s mud house recently and had great fun sleeping with her six-year-old daughter, Ciru, on a single bed. “We talked in Kikuyu for an hour before going to sleep” reported Ros. Then she added, “when I didn’t understand something, I guessed and said ‘ee’” (which means ‘yes’ and is pronounced something like the vowel sound in ‘air’).

Our exciting news is that we are expecting our third child. Alison is keeping well and feels less queasy now than during her first few months. We are booked in at the Church Guest House in Nairobi for two weeks before the due date of 23 March, and she will have the baby in the well-equipped Nairobi Hospital. Every six weeks she has a checkup with a consultant obstetrician in Nairobi. Our friends here are praying for a boy…for in Africa, sons are very important. Even if you have a stone house and a car, you are poor without a son as well as daughters; and even if you have only a small plot of land and cannot pay school fees, with sons and daughters you are rich.

May the Lord bless you this Christmas as we remember him who was rich, yet for our sake became poor. In the first-year doctrine class this term, we have been looking at Christology, the study of how Christ is both Divine and human. In exploring the subject further, during our college ‘Quiet Day’, I wrote the following.


In the beginning were the Words,

    and the Words were the Poet's,

    and were part of Him:

    lively and brilliant.

And the Words became music,

    and were sung,

    full of beauty and freedom.

We have heard the Song,

    and been utterly moved,

    again and again.

We had read poetry before,

    but beauty and freedom

    came through this Song.

No-one has ever seen the Poet:

    this one Song, which is in His heart,

    has shown Him to us.

Graham Kings

Graham Kings

Wood panel


Wood panel

A bronze