The induction of the Rev Keith M Watkins, by the Zimbabwe Presbytery, as the missionary minister of Sengera Mission, Kenya, took place on Wednesday 25 July 2001. When the Zimbabwe Presbytery met at Sengera that morning at 10.45 in preparation for the induction, it noted that the Synod had decided that ministerial deputies visiting within the bounds of the Zimbabwe Presbytery were to be assessor ministers pro tem of the Presbytery during their stay. This meant that the Revs N M Ross and J R Tallach, who had been appointed deputies by the Foreign Mission Committee, were assessor members pro tem of the Presbytery. Mr E Zikhali was appointed Clerk pro tem. Also noted was the further decision: “The Synod instruct the Zimbabwe Presbytery to induct Rev Keith M Watkins to the charge of the Preaching Station at Sengera, Kenya, and that the Jewish and Foreign Missions Committee, in liaison with the said Presbytery, be given the responsibility of making arrangements to this end”.
The Presbytery therefore met with the congregation in the church at 11 o’clock. About 400 people had assembled, about 330 of whom were in the church itself. The remaining 70 were seated under the church verandah, onto which the church windows were opened so that all of them could hear, and many of them see, the proceedings.
The Moderator pro tem of Presbytery, Mr Ross, preached from Psalm 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them”. When public worship was ended, the Moderator pro tem gave a brief narrative of the proceedings in the appointment of Mr Watkins to the charge of the Sengera Mission. Mr Watkins then satisfactorily answered the questions put to ministers at their induction, and signed the Formula in the presence of the congregation. The Moderator, having engaged in prayer, then solemnly inducted Mr Watkins to the charge.
Dr Tallach addressed Mr Watkins as to his ministerial duties, basing his remarks on Luke 12:42,43, “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” The Moderator then addressed the congregation regarding their duties towards their new pastor, and towards God who had sent him to them. Messages of prayerful good wishes were read from the London congregation; Rev Fraser MacDonald, Portree; Rev D J MacDonald, Dornoch; Rev D A Ross, Laide; and Rev John Goldby, Shieldaig. After the service, the people met in the inner compound, where they were served with light refreshments.
It was very evident that the congregation, which ordinarily numbers more than 300, was truly pleased to have Mr Watkins settled over them in holy things. One of the men of the congregation said to the writer before the induction (and we believe that he was echoing the sentiment of several), “We have been praying for a minister – and now God has answered our prayers”. Our response in private and public was, “You must not cease praying. Be praying that the preaching of the Word would be blessed to you.” We believe that this is indeed the petition of a number of the people there – as it is the petition of friends of the Mission who live in Britain, Holland, Zimbabwe and other countries. May the Lord be pleased to send a copious blessing upon the ministry now begun in Sengera.