Tenwek Hospital College – School of Chaplaincy

Help Friends of Tenwek Raise $700,000 to help build the new School of Chaplaincy!

The time is right. The need is great.
Will you help train and equip a new generation of chaplains for Africa and beyond?


Nearly 30 years after first offering training to students from throughout Africa, Tenwek Hospital’s all-new School of Chaplaincy will open in September 2019 with an inaugural class of 30 students.

  • A revised, three-year curriculum has significantly expanded the education and training opportunities to meet internationally-accepted standards for chaplaincy programs.
  • The School’s senior administrator (equivalent to President or Provost in the U.S. and called “Principal” in Kenya) has been named.
  • The recruitment of new faculty, administrative staff, and students is underway.
  • Enrollment is projected to gradually increase from 30 to 60 students annually to reach full enrollment.
  • A Master Plan for the campus is undergoing approval for construction to begin soon.
  • Building and equipping the classrooms, library, chapel, faculty and student housing, dining hall, student center, and offices needed to serve the school’s full enrollment of 200 students is a multi-million dollar project – and FOT is committed to help raise the funds for this essential part of Tenwek Hospital’s mission and work. 


Why Chaplains are Urgently Needed NOW – “The harvest is great, but the workers are few …”  Matthew 9:37

This is a unique moment in Kenya’s history. Leaders in all sectors – health, education, law enforcement, and military – recognize the prayer, counsel, and influence that trained chaplains can bring to people in need. Today in Kenya there is an unparalleled opportunity to share the Gospel and demonstrate Christian values in all areas of society.

Kenya’s government and education leaders have announced plans to post a chaplain in every school in the country to help students develop stronger morals, improve discipline, and deter delinquent behavior. What an opportunity to influence the next generation for Christ!

Tenwek’s current School of Chaplaincy, in collaboration with the Africa Gospel Church, developed a faith-focused program for men and women in more than a dozen correctional facilities in Western Kenya. This ministry has transformed prisoner conduct in such a dramatic way that prison administrators have become the biggest advocates of the program and the work has been endorsed by the Kenyan government. Correctional facilities throughout the country are eager to emulate the program – but more trained chaplains are needed.

Chaplains also are in constant demand in hospital and hospice environments, are needed to assist law enforcement and military personnel, and must be trained to provide spiritual support and counsel during natural disasters, terrorism events, or community trauma.

The new, international curriculum at the School of Chaplaincy provides education and training in ALL of these areas.
Graduates will meet these needs in Kenya and beyond – unleashing the power of the Gospel throughout Africa.

 Why Your Support is Urgently Needed NOW

The School of Chaplaincy will open in September 2019. Your support TODAY will help ensure that construction of the necessary facilities will proceed as planned.

The site of the new School of Chaplaincy was purchased a decade ago and has been awaiting a convergence of vision, leadership, and funding. These resources are now aligning and you can participate in this mighty move of God.  

“This school will train thousands of chaplains over the years. There are now open opportunities in schools, hospitals, and prisons all across Africa where these chaplains will be serving. I assure Friends of Tenwek from the bottom of my heart that you are involved in one of the most amazing moves of God.” 
Rev. Dr. Robert Lang’at, Bishop of Africa Gospel Church-Kenya and Chairman of the Tenwek Hospital Board of Trustees

“Serving Christ at the bedside and beyond”

From its earliest days as a medical dispensary through its growth to become Kenya’s premiere missionary hospital, Tenwek Hospital leaders have always recognized how the physical and spiritual aspects of healing are inseparably linked. Dr. Ernie Steury, the hospital’s first physician, saw the need for a full-time chaplain to serve alongside his dedicated medical team.

In 1975, the Africa Gospel Church appointed Rev. David Kilel as Tenwek hospital’s full-time chaplain and Dr. Steury became his mentor and friend. Together, they agreed that no patient would leave Tenwek Hospital without hearing about Jesus. They also shared a vision for establishing a chaplaincy school that would train men and women for “serving Christ at the bedside and beyond.”


In 1991, their shared dream became a reality when Tenwek Hospital founded the L. Nelson Bell International School of Chaplaincy. It was the first school of its kind in Kenya, established with funding from Samaritan’s Purse and named to honor Dr. Bell, China’s first missionary doctor. The father of Ruth Bell Graham and father-in-law to Billy Graham, Dr. Bell stated that he could not do medical work without the services of a chaplain.

The school initially focused on biblical training and ministering to the whole person by helping people through sickness and bereavement. Over time, the program has expanded its scope of training to include preparation for chaplaincy work in schools, colleges, prisons, police departments, and the armed forces.

To date, more than 200 students from 11 African nations have been equipped for chaplaincy service throughout the continent. Just imagine the international impact an expanded new school will have! Your support will help write the next chapter in this exciting story.

“The chaplaincy ministry is not an end in itself. It is part and parcel of spreading the Gospel.”
Rev. David Kilel, Tenwek Hospital’s First Chaplain, Former Head of Tenwek Hospital’s Chaplaincy School



Contact Don Hoover, FOT Director of Development