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Walter Obare

Kenyan bishop
The basics
Occupation Priest
Date of birth
The details

Walter Obare Omwanza is the presiding bishop (in apostolic succession) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, which is a member of the Lutheran World Federation and the International Lutheran Council respectively.

Concordia Theological Seminary, of the U.S. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, awarded Obare an honorary Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) degree in 2006.

Childhood and Family life

Obare was born in Misambi village on 10 May 1947 in the Nyamira District of Kenya. He married in 1976 and has ten children and four grandchildren.

Schooling and service

Obare studied at Matongo Lutheran Theological College (MLTC) and graduated with a General Certificate in Theology in 1981.

He was ordained as a pastor in 1982, after which he served as a parish pastor in nine congregations simultaneously. In 1985 he was appointed by his church to be Pastor for Schools, a churchwide position. In 1991 he again studied at MLTC where he received a Higher Diploma in Theology, graduating in 1993. In the same year he began a teaching career at MLTC.

He was awarded a master's degree from Concordia Seminary St Louis (of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) where he earned an MA degree. He came back to Kenya and continued at MLTC until August 2002 when he was called to the office of the Presiding Bishop of ELCK. He was consecrated a bishop on 24 November 2002.

Mission Province and Lutheran World Federation

On 5 February 2005 he consecrated a Swedish pastor, Arne Olsson, as bishop for a conservative group called Missionsprovinsen, which opposes the Church of Sweden's policy on placing women and unrepentant homosexuals into the ordained pastorate based on the historic teaching and practice of the Catholic Church on the roles of men and women.

The Council of the Lutheran World Federation subsequently terminated a leadership position Obare held within the LWF on 1 September 2005.

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