01 September 2009

Johnson Gakumba rises from orphanhood to bishop

Picture by Rev.Willy Akena
I found this article in the New Vision of Wednesday, 19th August, 2009 . Thought you might be interested to read

By Dennis Ojwee

Humility and joyous disposition are the most outstanding characteristics that strike you when you first meet him.

The joyous reception he gives you leaves you with no doubt that he is indeed a man chosen by God to serve his flock.

Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba, 49, is the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Northern Uganda (DNU), a top priestly position he never dreamed would be his, especially given that he grew up as an orphan.

Born on February 25, 1959 at Kiswata Village, Kihuba Parish in Masindi District, Gakumba was raised by the late Leoben Kyenkya after both his parents died.

Unfortunately, Kyenkya, who also died, will miss his adopted son’s consecration as bishop in December this year.

After his guardian’s demise, Kakumba stayed in Rev. Modicum Okello’s home, both at Mican in Gulu Municipality and later in the UK.

He returned to Uganda from the UK in 1980 and settled in Acholi sub-region, where he learnt to speak Luo fluently. Gakumba considers himself a true Acholi. He began life in priesthood in 1980 at Bobi Parish in Gulu Municipality, before his pastoral assignments at All Saints Church in Kitgum in 1984.

His first wife died in 2000, with whom they had four daughters: Hope Atim, a graduate of Makerere University, employed as a social worker, Faith Amony, Grace Lakica, now in S.4 and Charity Lamwaka. He married his second wife, Christine Oroma-Gakumba, an Acholi from Omoro County, Gulu in December 2001. The couple is blessed with two daughters: Ageno-Rwot and Peace Kipak-Rwot.

“I feel humble upon being elected bishop by the House of Bishops. This is a heavenly call and a big responsibility.

I have to commit myself to serving God and my people diligently with complete dedication, especially since they have suffered for over 23 years because of war,” says Gakumba.

As a young person, being an orphan never derailed him from being a dedicated Christian who kept his faith until he was baptised in 1974 at the age of 15. He was later confirmed as a true Christian believer and Soldier of Christ five years later in 1979.

He got born-again shortly after he had been ordained as a priest at All Saints’ Church in Kitgum Town Parish. Gakumba was the fourth Vicar of Christ Church Town Archdeaconry for two years from 2000 to 2002, where he launched his first development planning project of expanding the church premises.

He also served as the Chaplain of St. Francis Church, Luzira Government Prisons in Kampala Diocese in 2003.

His canonisation took place at St. Philip’s Cathedral in Gulu in 2007. From 2008, he served as Canon and Vicar of the Church of Resurrection-Bugolobi.

Gakumba promises cooperation with all the clergy who will serve under his spiritual leadership.

“I will work with the priests, the laity and all Christians to revive our diocese and restore the hope and faith of our Christians through God’s wisdom and blessings.

Let us, therefore, join hands in achieving this noble cause in order to please God and his people,” Gakumba says.

His consecration is slated for December 20, 2009 at Mican in Gulu Municipality, at which President Yoweri Museveni is expected as the chief guest.

Fact File
- 1997-2000: Bachelor’s degree in divinity at Uganda Christian University-Mukono
- 1991-1993: Diploma in Theology from Bishop Tucker’s Theological College-Mukono
- 1981-1983: Provincial certificate in theology from Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College-Gulu Diocese
- 1977: Primary Leaving Certificate - Kyeema Primary School

Other responsibilities
- 1996-1997: Deputy Principal of Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College
- 1995 -1996 college’s principal
- 1994-1997: Head of Lay Readers’
Training Programme in college
- 1984-1985: Assistant Vicar in All Saints Church in Kitgum
- 1983: Ordained priest
- 1980: Lay Reader at Bobi Parish-Gulu

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