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Christians in Africa, U.S., mourn loss of Kenya missionary Berkeley Hackett (updated)

Berkeley Hackett and Lydia Wanjiku in the auditorium of the Eastleigh Church of Christ in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2011. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Update: See a related post for Berekeley Hackett’s obituary and information about a U.S. memorial service.
Church members on two continents are mourning the death of Berkeley Hackett, a pioneering missionary to the East African nation of Kenya.
Hackett, a missionary, minister and school administrator in Kenya, died of a heart attack in the capital city, Nairobi.
For 14 years, Hackett served as chief administrator of the Kenya Christian Industrial Training Institute, or KCITI, in the Nairobi neighborhood known as Eastleigh. In 2011, he gave the reigns of the school to Lydia Wanjiku. Wanjiku, who grew up in the slums of Nairobi, was the first student to enroll at KCITI. (See our recent report from the school’s campus.)
The Christian Chronicle will report additional details as we receive them.

  • Feedback
    My sincere condolences especially to the Hackett family and Eastleigh Christian family at this time of mourning. Barkeley will especially be remembered for his zeal, creativity and aggressiveness in developing KCITI. He was an optimist who could see the opportunity in every difficulty, who always made a way where he could not find one.
    David Marube
    May, 21 2012

    In shock and a sad day for me, lost a Brother, mentor and a loving father, may the LORD rest him in peace.
    Geoffrey Kirima
    May, 21 2012

    Berkeley: You are true solder of the Cross; you have fought a good fight, kept the faith and finished the race. May your soul rest in peace.
    I was attending a meeting at the National AIDS Control Council at Landmark Plaza which is just opposite the Lee Funeral Home, adjacent to the Nairobi Hospital in Nairobi when I received the sad news of Berkeley Hackett’s demise. I made several calls to confirm it. When I called Lydia; she gave the assurance, mentioning that Hackett’s body is being moved from the Mater Hospital; where he was pronounced dead on arrival, to the Lee Funeral Home. I walked down to the funeral home minutes later and had the opportunity to comfort the brethren that had accompanied the body.
    I register my heartfelt sympathy to the church family in Kenya and America, especially those that worked and walked with our late brother on daily basis at KCITI and the Nairobi Church of Christ – Eastleigh. It is a dark moment at this moment of grieve, but it brightens with the realization that he is at the bosom of our loving Father whom he served with undivided attention.
    Nyabuto Marube
    May, 21 2012

    I’m shocked. May God bless Berkeley through Jesus Christ whom he served and may God comfort Berkeley’s earthly family as well as his extensive church family. I’m sorry for his loss to us on this earth. Bill Searcy
    Bill Searcy
    May, 21 2012

    I have such mixed emotions to hear this. Berkeley was definately a man whose heart was in two worlds. He lived to serve the people of Kenya yet I know his heart was set on heaven. He is now in a better place. I have known him for forty-five years and have been close friends for the past thirty-five years. Only eternity will tell the true value of the work that he did. My prayers go out to his wife, his daughter and all the African brethren who will miss him. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
    Ron Harper
    May, 21 2012

    My uncle lived to serve, and while I know he will be missed, his work will continue through those he served.
    Melanie Hackett Hendrix
    May, 21 2012

    As those we love pass from this world, it humbles us. We remember conversations, life experiences, joys, struggles. Best of all, though, is it keeps us in perspective. This is NOT our home … we are just passing through.
    We pray God’s loving arms to hold Charlotte as she grieves her companion, friend, co-worker…her love.
    David and Mary Helen Bush
    May, 21 2012

    I’m sitting in NYC, but my heart is in Kenya today.
    It was so sad to hear the news early this morning that Berkeley Hackett had passed away. His legacy lives on in the lives of the thousands that he and Charlotte have mentored over the years, including me.
    Twenty years ago, I spent two of the greatest years of my life in Nairobi, Kenya where I worked for, golfed with, was mentored by Berkeley. – He truly one of the most heroic / adventurous / tenacious / brilliant and passionate people I’ve ever had the privilege to call “rafiki yangu” (my friend). He was true to his mission until the end.
    Well done, Berkeley, rest at last.
    If that were the end of the story, it would be enough – but this morning I called Berkeley’s cellphone and was able to speak to Charlotte and express our condolences and sorrow over her loss. = But true and as indomitable as ever, Charlotte wanted more than anything to ensure that their mission would continue and that the work that they both have given their lives for would not miss a beat and keep moving.
    She spoke of the people at the church, the young men and families and especially the ‘mamas’. She spoke of a new sustainable agriculture training program and the success and challenges of continuing the work of the vocational school and the local preacher training program – and her faith/hope that the churches that had been reliable partners in this ministry for years, Saturn Road Church in Garland, TX and The Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, AL would remain faithful to this work.
    Well done, and onward.
    Scott Sewell
    May, 21 2012

    am shocked to hear that the man behind my success is gone. My his soul rest in peace. am where I am because of you. RIP
    Derrick Berry
    May, 22 2012

    It is sad indeed to read of the loss of brother Hackett. He loved Africa and served the people with 100%devotion. He touched many lives and braved many dangers. He defined himself as a defender of the faith and championed uncharted paths of social gospel. His work and devotion will remain with us in Kenya for many years to come. It is divine honor that he passed on in Kenya, the country he loved and evangelized. May we honor him by matching such devotion!
    Charles Ngoje
    May, 22 2012

    it is a sad moment for me for the loss my brother hacket,he come in my familly life 36 years ago en he become my elder brother,he taught us deep understandig of the body of christ,which we are different ogerns.all these years he kept prepareing us and himself for heavenly home.my brother you went a heard of us,we are coming. i dried my tears when i saw how peaciful u were.it is true you are asleep,one of these days you are rasing up with our Lord Jesus in our new home.i will miss u.
    A wachuka nyamu
    May, 22 2012

    I interacted with Berkeley for over 10 years since I joined KCITI and NCCE. He definitely was a devoted missionary impacting many lives the world over. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
    May, 22 2012

    Am proud to have passed through his hands.he was such a gentleman and a mentor to most of us. may you rest in peace Mr.Hacket.
    May, 22 2012

    Africa has sent ahead a great servant; heaven has received a great son. Blessings and peace to all my African brothers and sisters who are missing their friend and mentor this day. Heaven will be a wonderful reunion in the not too distant future!
    Alan Henderson
    May, 22 2012

    I knew Berkeley when becoming an African Missionary was a dream. He served our Lord well. PERSERVANCE!
    June Steadman
    May, 22 2012

    It is sad! We crossed passes many times and I hope we shall do it again some day.
    Grace Nyanga
    May, 22 2012

    Berkeley could sing sea shanties from Nairobi to Mombasa and not repeat one song. He made terrific Italian sauce and played good rugby. He preached on street corners and made every day we spent with him better. There will not be another just like him. He believed God loved ordinary people like you and me. He told us years ago he was going to Heaven from Kenya–and he has–straight to Heavens gates.
    Don and Sharon Britt
    May, 22 2012

    Asinah and I are in shock. We will remember him as our spiritual father and missionary, who spent most of his life preaching the Gospel to the poor. Our heartfelt condolences to charlotte and to Eastleigh and the entire church of Christ family in East Africa. We have lost a selfless servant.
    Peter and Asinah Macharia.
    Peter and Asinah Macharia
    May, 22 2012

    Goodbye Mr Hachet i cannot be who i am today if it was not for your great vision to help us in Africa,Job well done.RIP
    Major John
    May, 22 2012

    Berkeley was an inspiration to us all and I feel honored to have known him as a friend for the past 30 years.Rest in Peace Berkeley we will miss you.
    May, 23 2012

    Berkeley was an inspiration to us all. I feel honored to have known him as a friend for the past 30 years. Rest in Peace Berkeley, we will miss you.
    May, 23 2012

    Hackett you were a mentor and a father to me. My earliest memories are when you allowed the youths to be who they are, you offered education, school fees a place to play and every year you hosted the youth rally with a huge feast to celebrate. Every school holiday you gave us jobs so we could earn money to buy stuff for school and you always said “kwa mikono tuu” you are an amazing guy and I will always cherish your memory. Thank you very much you have lived in faith and you have left in faith and you have touched many lives that today can stand and testify your love and care for them.
    Phelix Omondi “TC”
    May, 23 2012

    Berkeley was sometimes called “Rhino”. He was truly a giant of a man in the Lord’s service. God blessed him with many gifts and he used them tirelessly to take Jesus to those who didn’t know Him, especially the people of East Africa. What began as a two year mission commitment for Berkeley and Charlotte in 1970 turned into a 42 year lifetime of service. The Lord has truly blessed their efforts. Thousands have been brought to Jesus and many many cups of cold water have been given to the thirsty. Berkeley gave everything he had in this ministry. He is already deeply missed, but the “fruits” of his work will continue forever.
    Vincent Doan
    May, 23 2012

    We were deeply blessed to work with Berkeley and Charlotte in 1989, the first year of the Eastleigh congregation. We lived 4 months just outside the gates, leading American campaigners who taught hundreds of Bible studies. Berkeley’s dedication to the Lord, and his passion for the lost were evident to all who knew him. A totally committed soldier of Christ, he was used of God to bring the love of Christ to the masses of several generations in many different ways. Our love to the wonderful Charlotte.
    Lloyd Deal
    May, 23 2012

    My heartfelt condolences to the Berkeley Hacket family and the entire KCITI Fraternity being an alumni of KCITI I know Hacket as a hard working and a God fearing Man who mold thousands of Graduates to be whom they are me included.
    He will forever be rememberd by many for offering us affordable Tertiary education.
    Kenya Christian Training Institute (IN SERVICE TO GOD AND THE COUNTRY)
    May, 24 2012

    May our heavenly Father Rest Berkeley Hackett Soul in Internal Peace.
    He help Millions of Kenyan to become IT Expert me been one of them, I was student, in the year 2004 to 2006, am out word when i remember all my Good time with Hackett @ KCITI.
    Kioko Antony
    May, 24 2012

    When my friend told me of Minister Berkeley Hackett passing, I could not believe it. I am so shocked of this news ! My name is Martin Mulimbwa from the Democratic Republic of Congo (former ZAIRE). I was refugee in Kenya and now living in Canada – What Mr Berkeley Hackett had done to my life is unforgetable – He helped so many congolese refugees like me and others to regain control of our lives after fleeing civil wars in our countries of origin. Berkeley Hackett gave me an opportunity to study computer sciences at KCITI where I graduated in Electronics, Bible, Computer Networking and PC repairs in 1996. Berkeley Hackett gave me hope and the training I recieved at KCITI shaped my future – Today I have life, hope and peace because of CHRIST who utilized Berkeley Hackett. His sudden departure is an entire loss to the KCITI institution, church organizations which he dilligently served for the causes of Christ, refugee communities and entire country of Kenya. May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus-Christ of Nazareth, give peace to his family during this difficult time.
    Let’s all remember the following WORD OF GOD:
    Ecclesiastes 3
    There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    2 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    6 a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    8 a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
    From Martin Mulimbwa
    Martin Mulimbwa
    May, 24 2012

    It is with great sorrow to learn of the passing of the great man of GOd Backley Hackett. I knew this Missionary for more than 10 years…
    I miss the words to express my condoleances to his family and all of his associates. May God the all mighty continue to comfort his family members. We will greatly miss him. It is my prayer that God will not abandon the legacy left The Eastleigh church of christ and KCITI.
    Mungu awe nanyi daima
    Tchaka Kimwemwe.
    Tchaka kimwemwe
    May, 24 2012

    Meanwhile, just down the road <a href=”http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/05/africa-developing-its-first-supercomputer-outside-south-africa/” title=”Africa developing its first supercomputer outside South Africa” rel=”nofollow”>Africa is developing its first supercomputer outside South Africa</a>. Any US Christian Colleges / University COmputer Science / Schools of Business plan on collaborating between iHub and KCITI for credit / experience?
    Ed Dodds
    May, 25 2012

    sometimes,God has to remind us this world is not our home.we are just passing.i grew up in N.C.C.for sure hackette showed true service of God.he touched so many pples life,he shed light to the upcoming youth,he has left marks.he was a father to the fatherless.rest in peace haco.
    faith wambu
    May, 25 2012

    I have been with bro. Hackett in daily basis in kciti for more than 13 years.Hacket has been a father and a mentor to me.He has nutured me to be somebody.He has left a legacy in His call as a missionary.
    for his outstanding perfomance in the mission field. We pray that God will help us to carry on with the vision he had of preaching and standing for the truth.In Ncce, we will miss his sunday morning Bible classes and preaching.God rest his soul in eternal peace.
    P Ivui
    May, 26 2012

    We have learnt with shock the passing on of BH. Truely, there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. We lack words to express our condolences to the greater Hacko’s family and the entire Church of Christ Eastleigh. KCITI we mourn. Rest in Peace wuod okuyu.
    Joan & Noah OKIDIA
    May, 26 2012

    I personally cherish all the time have known BH.Your memmories will linger to many forever and your legacy will live on till we meet again.
    Many can be said though God has a reason for everything and as humans it’s hard to comprehend why this great loss.
    Will miss you &amp; you will always be in my heart as I emulate your wonderful talents/gifts,dedication,will power and teachings.
    Many condelesce to the family and the entire KCITI fraternity.
    Good bye BH till we meet again………….
    Chalse Kamala
    May, 28 2012

    It took Peggy Jenkins of Lake Dallas TX four clear years to teach me about Christ and His church through WBS. When I finally accepted through God’s grace to obey the gospel in 1988. I was given Bro BH’s name as one who could arrange my immersion. He notified Bro Lawrence Barr, the then missionary to S/Nyanza about my spiritual need. The last time I spoke to BH on phone was in Aug last year when I was in Laikipia and could not locate a church. I will personally miss Bro BH here but hope to meet him in heav
    Jacob Agak
    May, 29 2012

    I first met Berkeley Hackkett in 1977 at an annual fellowship meeting for churches of Christ in Kenya at Winyo Church of Christ,in South Nyanza. Whenever a loved one goes on before us it is a reminder for us to be ready to go meet with our Lord any time. Life is short! The day of salvation is today.
    Nicholas Onsomu Oyaro
    May, 29 2012

    Berkeley went to MCC with my sister when it was NCJC and his brother Jon and I attended togeter at MCC. His brother Richard was the art instructor. The Hacketts were a strong presence at MCC and for the Detroit area. He will be missed.
    bill clary
    May, 29 2012

    Marty and I will always remember the gracious attention given us by Berkeley and Charlotte when we visited Kenya a few years ago. May God strengthen you, Charlotte!
    Mac and Marty Lynn
    Mac Lynn
    May, 29 2012

    Dear Charlotte and family, God’s comfort to you during this time. We are remembering you all in our prayers.
    Roger and Sue Moon
    May, 29 2012

    Mr. Hackett is very high-minded Berkeley, and always striving to help others, may what has been done could be useful in those who are still alive. and execute what he had done.
    May, 29 2012

    Dear family,
    So sorry for the loss of brother Hackett. I have jewelry that I bought from his parents that was made in Nairobi. It will be cherished even more. Am so thankful for all the good work he did in Kenya. He will be greatly missed. May God bless all the lives he influenced and all that will miss him.
    Sister Cynthia Salyer
    Faulkner University
    Montgomery AL USA
    Cynthia Stinson Salyer
    May, 30 2012

    Sweet sleep great man of God. We hope to see you again sometime up there.
    Chinedum Nwankwo
    May, 31 2012

    Goodbye gallant soldier of the cross (Berkeley Hackett)
    I got the news of your transition from Brother H.M. Motsinger while I was receiving lectures in his Bible seminars in Nigeria.
    I know we will meet in Heaven when Christ shall come.
    May his family and love one be console in the fact that he has completed his work here on earth.
    Mojima Etokudo (Minister)
    Church of Christ
    Ikot Odiong
    POBox 353 Abak
    Akwa Ibom State
    Mojima Etokudo
    May, 31 2012

    Sorry to hear of Berkeley’s passing. I first met him when as a teen ager at Watervliet Church of Christ, Michigan, when he traveled down from Michigan Christian College and to speak. I renewed the aquaintance at Harding while a student. God used him greatly in His kingdom. Our prayers are with his family.
    Don Selvidge
    June, 3 2012

    Watching the Olympics reminds me of the joy that Daddy took in athletic achievement. He would have enjoyed watching them so much! Daddy I miss you terribly.
    Frances Hackett
    August, 2 2012

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