In Summary
  • There is also a list of individuals who either contributed to the construction of the first church in 1923, or to the area’s development.
  • There is a list of five farmers who donated land in 1919 for establishment of the mission, nine farmers who pioneered coffee growing in 1935, and the missionaries who settled in Chogoria.

  • They include Dr Clive Irvine and his wife Margaret, who mobilised the local community to build the church.

On arrival at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Chogoria Central Parish headquarters in Tharaka-Nithi County, one is welcomed by a mausoleum that dates back nearly a century.

Here are the graves of the first missionaries, with their names engraved on plaques. There is also a list of individuals who either contributed to the construction of the first church in 1923, or to the area’s development.

ELABORATE DESIGNS

There is a list of five farmers who donated land in 1919 for establishment of the mission, nine farmers who pioneered coffee growing in 1935, and the missionaries who settled in Chogoria. They include Dr Clive Irvine and his wife Margaret, who mobilised the local community to build the church.

About 40 metres from the mausoleum is the old church, an architectural marvel with an imposing presence. Like other buildings dating back to the 18th and early 19th centuries, it has many arched sections.

The main entrance has a lobby, while the carved doors and windows have elaborate designs. The interior of the roof is finished with pieces of intricately carved timber that look as if they are woven. The interior walls are built with bricks, which have seen it withstand the vagaries of weather.

While the pulpit is circular and raised, resembling a witness box in a law court, there is space for a drum on the right side of the church, and a section reserved for the choir.

 The new church is built in such a way that it encircles the old one.

In The History of Chogoria, published in 1994 by Handsel Press Limited, Dr John Wilkinson, who was also a missionary, says Dr Irvine arrived in Chogoria in September, 1922.

AFRICAN CUSTOMS

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