31 December 2009
THE CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF UGANDA
DIOCESE OF NORTHERN UGANDA
THE RT. REV. JOHNSON GAKUMBA
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS CONSECRATION AND
ENTHRONEMENT AS THE SEVENTH BISHOP OF
THE DIOCESE OF NORTHERN UGANDA .
AT ST. PHILIP’S CATHEDRAL, GULU
20TH DECEMBER 2009
• Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda , Yoweri Kaguta and Hon. Mama Janet Museveni.
• Your Grace, the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda , Henry Luke and Mama Phoebe Orombi.
• Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors and High Commissioners.
• My brother Bishops of the Church of Uganda and your dear wives.
• The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, John Baptist Odama.
• Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda .
• The Chief Justice of the High Court of Uganda .
• Honorable Ministers and members of Parliament.
• The Paramount Chief of Acholi.
• The RDC’s of Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, and Pader.
• The LC 5 Chairpersons of Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum and Pader districts.
• Members of the Provincial Assembly.
• The Provincial Secretariat Church of Uganda .
• Uganda Christian University team.
• All development partners from within and abroad.
• All the other Government dignitaries in your various capacities.
• Members of the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Northern Uganda .
• All Canons, Archdeacons, Clergy and Lay Readers of the Diocese of Northern Uganda .
• All other Religious Leaders present.
• All the Invited Guests.
• All members of the Organizing Committee.
• All of the Mothers Union, youth and Children present here.
• Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of my dear wife, Christine, and the children, the Christians of the Diocese of Northern Uganda and on my own behalf, I do whole heartedly extend our warm welcome to you all in your various capacities to Acholi land and to Gulu in particular.
Some of you could have crossed Karuma bridge for the first time; thank you very much for honoring us. Your presence on this historic day of our Consecration and Enthronement as the Seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda is a clear demonstration of your love for us and the people of Acholi. May God bless you all.
3.0 Situational Analysis of the Diocese
The Diocese comprises of the districts of Amuru and Gulu, and has nine (9) Archdeaconries and twenty - four (24) Parishes. The Diocese is recovering from over 20 years of civil strife that saw over 1.8 million people displaced into IDPs camps for over a decade. We are glad that with the prevailing peace, our people are now beginning to settle back into their villages, for the long stay in the IDP camps negatively impacted their lives, spiritually, psychologically, socially and economically.
• The 20 years war destroyed both lives and properties, displacement of over 1.8 million and resulted into abject poverty, misery and apathy.
• HIV and AIDS has got a very high prevalence and incidences of new infection. Since AIDS was the second largest killer in the IDPs camps, it’s a time bomb among our resettling community.
• Number of orphans and vulnerable children has increased due to both war and AIDS.
• Return with its related challenges e.g. poverty, hunger, diseases, lack of shelter, orphans, disabled, ignorance, widows leading to dependency on handouts
• Land disputes among the communities are undermining the resettlement process and the economic use of the land.
• Educational standard has declined as a result of lack of teachers, poverty, and lack of infrastructure leading to high rate of school drop outs at all levels. The rate of school drop outs is even higher among the girl child and at higher level of education.
• Concentration of social service facilities in the former IDPs camps has negatively impacted on rural resettlement as the population trying to resettle find access to social service facilities difficult.
• The high level of poverty in the area has hindered most people from sending their children for higher education especially to secondary and tertiary institutions. Statistics indicate that about 96% of the rural IDPs were living below the poverty line of US $ 1 a day.
• The traditional Acholi institution, cherished dignity and social fiber have been eroded by the years of conflict.
• The high population of households made up and led by children below 18 years of age has led to the emergence of vulnerable households and the breakdown of family and community support systems and structures that used to provide for children’s education.
• Youth: Illiteracy level was at 73% of the Internally Displaced Persons above the age of 10 cannot read or write or do so with difficulties.
• There are no supportive rural economic infrastructures to attract small-scale investments to create employment for youth. They also lack marketable skills and financial services for self-employment that tends to increase youth vulnerability.
• Confinement to camp life resulted into idleness; population out burst, single headed homesteads by women and children has caused sense of loss of position and power within the family and the society formerly headed by men. There is also high level of alcohol abuse, drug abuse and domestic violence leading to moral decay.
• Children and the women are the worst affected, they bore the brunt of the war to head homes and families.
• Cultural norms have been polluted by extreme philosophies from the camps, bush, town, night commuters and teachings from LRA. which have resulted in great, confusion in the minds of the people about their culture and religion.
• The Church together with the people was displaced, suffered but has ultimately survived with the people.
The Church and the remnants are left in desperate need of settlement, recovery and development. The need to rise up cannot be under estimated or stressed enough. By the grace of God, we will rise and shine again.
4.0 Arise and Shine (Isaiah 60:1ff)
As a Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, we will together with the clergy and the laity pursue this theme “ARISE AND SHINE” (Isaiah 60:1ff) and we shall pay special attention to it in the following areas as we recover and restore the lost glory of our people and Christians of the Diocese of Northern Uganda:
4.1 Missions and Evangelism
• Proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all people in a holistic manner for the well being of the body, mind and soul. We shall uphold the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…...”
• In 2 Timothy 4:2, St. Paul urges us to preach the message whether the time is good or bad but to convince, reproach, rebuke and encourage. The main focus shall be placed on discipleship, training and nurturing people in the faith using the existing structures and reviving others which include: the Youth, Mothers’ Union, Fathers’ union, Sunday school, Lay evangelists, Church Army Captains, Christian Women’s Fellowships by way of Seminars, Open Air Crusades, Worship, Conventions, Conferences, Bible Study, Fellowships and Retreats.
• We shall strengthen and support intercessory prayer ministry which shall be established in our parishes for purpose of seeking God’s favour on the people and the land, strengthening the Church through spiritual renewal and nurturing people in Christ, 2Chronicles:7:14 says “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land”
• The three fold ministries of preaching, teaching and healing of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be at the centre of the Diocese and we shall share the Gospel in schools, hospitals, prisons, homes and everywhere.
• We shall partner with the Provincial Missions Department, Life Ministry Uganda , Alpha Uganda, African Evangelistic Enterprise, Bible Society of Uganda, Fellowship of Christian Unions-Uganda (FOCUS), Scripture Union - Uganda , Words of HOPE - Uganda Radio Ministry, Compassion International - Uganda , and the neighboring Dioceses of Lango, Kitgum, Nebbi and Madi & West Nile, other ecumenical and para - church organizations.
4.2 Responding to Human Needs through Loving Service
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not only preach but healed the sick and fed the hungry. And in John 10:10, Jesus says “I came so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
The Church should therefore lead the way in resettlement and rehabilitation of the people now returning back home. We shall do this through the Planning and Development arm of the Diocese.
We shall partner with Government, Non - Governmental Organisations, Acholi in the Diaspora (Kampala, UK, USA, Canada) and other institutions involved in the post war recovery programmes and implementation of Peace Recovery and Development plan (PRDP) of the people of Acholi:
• By improving food security, shelter and empowering the people to work hard and produce enough food for consumption and earning income.
• By supporting vulnerable groups like widows, orphans, elderly, disabled, war victims, formerly abducted children, prisoners and their families and people affected and infected with HIV/AIDS by providing them with basic services that will help them to recover and settle well.
• On health, there are many people who are sick and with physical and psychological traumas and wounds as a result of the war. We shall use our existing church health structures e.g. St. Phillip’s dispensary and other dispensaries and health facilities in the Diocese and improve them for effective health service delivery in collaboration with the Government Ministry of Health.
• On education, we shall take an active role in improving the quality of education by paying special attention to the welfare of teachers and pupils in schools. We shall collaborate with the School Management Committees and Parents Teachers’ Associations in order to improve their capacity to offer quality education and through our Education Department work towards improving performance levels and retention rates, and reducing on drop-out rate especially for the girl-child. This too will be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders.
The Diocese will ensure spiritual development of our students by having well trained chaplains in all our schools. Refresher courses will be availed to those already serving as lay or ordained chaplains and school patrons.
We shall promote Adult Literacy for those who did not go to school or dropped out due to war.
And the youth who are unable to go back to school will be provided with skills that will enable them earn a living and support themselves.
4.3 Stewardship of the Earth and Environment
• We are the stewards of our bodies, our minds, our abilities, our time, our possessions, our environment and above all the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. God expects us to be faithful stewards of our lives and all that he has given us since we shall give account of our selves to him, (1 Corinthians 4:2, Romans:14:12)
• The war has affected our environment and ecological systems. In Genesis 2:15, God commands mankind to take care of the earth and its environment. We shall strive to encourage good practice of land use, tree planting, environmental conservation and all the resources that God has entrusted to us. Every Christian, every parish, every baptism and confirmation candidate will be encouraged to plant at least one tree.
4.4 Promoting Peace and Reconciliation
Although the war has ended it has left wounds and many conflicts among the people. As people return home, the issue of land is bringing conflicts, resulting in violence and blood shed. We all need to realize the need for one another, to quote Dr. Desmond Tutu “Differences are not intended to separate, and alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another” LOOK AT RELIGION “Religion is like a knife; you can either use it to cut bread or stick in someone’s back,” Or FAMILY “ You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you as you are to them” OR PEOPLE “A person is a person through other persons. None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learnt it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am, because other people are. “When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”
We shall be involved in peace building, conflict resolution, dialogue, mediation, arbitration, conciliation and advocacy in order to have a peaceful and harmonious society. Romans 12:17-18 says “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
4.5 Institutional and Infrastructural Development
As a result of the war, the Diocese suffered and the Church infrastructure collapsed, leaving the Church with no source of income.
• We shall secure and update the Diocesan Inventory and legalize/document all Diocesan assets.
• We shall improve on Church workers welfare and working conditions.
• We shall build decent places of worship. Currently there are only five Church structures in the whole Diocese. Worship is done in classrooms, or under trees or in make shift structures. We shall endeavor to complete the Cathedral Project.
• Manpower development of both the Clergy and the laity will continue to be our priority. Besides Theology, we shall encourage Clergy to train in other fields like Law, Medicine, Business, Agriculture and Engineering.
• Completion of old Diocesan Projects like the Commercial Building on Olya Road and initiating new ones for income generation will be among our priorities.
• Resource Mobilisation and Accountability: There is need for adequate, timely and reliable funding in order to implement Diocesan planned activities. All other inputs required for the implementation of the plan depend on the quantity and timely flow of funds. The Diocese will take a proactive approach to attract funding partners by developing a comprehensive resource mobilisation plan and adapt its reporting mechanism to funding partners reporting requirements.
4.6 Partnership, Networking and Collaboration
• Advocacy to scale up service delivery will receive special attention in all annual advocacy activities. The Diocese will work with all partners to articulate issues likely to hinder the post conflict missionary work, resettlement and recovery. The Diocese will develop advocacy plans that adequately address the advocacy issues identified. Advocacy will be promoted in collaboration with other partners and advocacy workshops will be conducted for staff, partners and other service providers.
• The Diocese will seek every opportunity to network and collaborate with other missionaries in and outside Uganda for short term missionary work in the Diocese in order to effectively respond to the mission gaps created by the over 20 years of war.
• To every Ugandan to unite for purpose, reconcile with one another for long lasting peace and development of our motherland Uganda .
• To the political leaders to be compassionate to all people, shun and reject such evils as nepotism, corruption and embezzlement and become peacemakers.
• To all in the civil and public service, to serve with the spirit of selflessness, servanthood and sincere heart so that Uganda “the Pearl of Africa” may shine and be a free, peaceful and prosperous nation.
• To the clergy, to join me in the extensive work and service to God’s people entrusted to our care. I can not work alone, we need to join hands with one another to enhance the greater vision for the Lord and His Church.
I appeal that we take the Gospel seriously and lead by example as we emulate our Lord Jesus Christ that we may at the end present the Church to Christ without defect, Ephesians 5:26-27.
I would like to appreciate and thank you all for your contributions and making this seventh consecration in the Diocese of Northern Uganda a success.
I particularly thank you your Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, for accepting our invitation by his Grace the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda to be the Chief Guest at this important function in the lives of our people and Diocese in spite of your busy schedules. This is a clear demonstration of your love for God and the people of Acholi region. Thank you for honoring us, your Excellency.
Your Excellency, allow me also thank you for the effort you have put in bringing peace which is now prevailing in Northern Uganda , without which this function would not have taken place. May God bless you.
I would like to thank our Father in God, His Grace Henry Luke Orombi for presiding over this consecration and enthronement service together with all the Bishops present.
Special thanks and appreciation also go to the following:
• The House of Bishops for electing me as the Seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
• The Diocesan Synod and the Nomination Committee for their selection.
• The Organizing Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. A. A. Ongom for the time, energy and resources you put in organizing this function.
• Mr. George Nyeko for coordinating the fundraising efforts in Kampala .
• The Acholi Parliamentary group for their contributions.
• Everyone who made generous contributions to this noble cause.
• His Grace the retired Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyooyo who requested for me and transfered me to work in Kampala Diocese.
• The Assistant Bishop, Dr. Zac and Mama Theodeore Niringiye, Bishop Elphaz and Mama Eunice Maari (retired), and all the staff of Kampala Diocesan with whom we worked till the time of my election as Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
• Bishop Joel and Mama Joy Obetia for conducting us through the retreat and for allowing the Lord to use you today to speak to the nation.
• I would like to acknowledge and honour all the previous Bishops of the Diocese of Northern Uganda: Bishop K. Russel, Archbishop Silvanus Wani, Archbishop Janan Luwum, Bishop Benon Ogwal (who ordained me), and Bishop Gideon Allan Oboma (who mentored me).
• I would like to sincerely thank the retired Bishop Nelson Onono - Onweng and his wife Brenda for the hard work of shepherding God’s people during the difficult time of war and for the successful hand over the mantle of leadership of the Diocese. I would continue to treasure your support and any other advice we shall need from time to time.
• Bishop Macleod Baker Ochola II who wedded us.
• Bishop Benjamin and Mama Margaret Ojwang for the practical training I received from you and for the good recommendation.
• Rev. Modicum Okello and his family for your love and for nurturing me in the faith.
• The late Mzee Elario Akena and the Palenga Kana Clan for accepting me in the Clan.
• Rev. Canon Nicholas and Mama Santuriya Odongpiny for supporting me and my family while serving as a young Deacon in Kitgum.
• All the Clergy and Christians of the Dioceses of Northern Uganda and Kitgum for your support.
• All Staff and Students of Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College (AJLTC) where I studied as one of the pioneer students and later taught, for the support.
• The Late Yosam Lutto and family who accepted to host us in their home when we were displaced by war in 1986.
• Mr. Johnson K. Nyeko and family who have continued to support our ministry.
• The Commissioner General of Prisons and all the Staff and Christians of Luzira Prisons who supported us in our ministry there.
• The Christians of Church of the Resurrection, Bugolobi Church of Uganda where I have been serving up to my election as a Bishop.
• My friends and partners from abroad; Bristol Diocese; Christ Church Overland Park, Kansas USA; Acholi London Christian Fellowship; Prof. Ted Shiner and his Late wife Nicki, who sponsored my Degree Course at Uganda Christian University, Mukono; Dick and Veronica Dewing, Hew and Jeannette Gregory Smith, Martin and Thalia Carr, Ray and the late Margaret Jones, Dr Daniel and Ruth Muthoni Muriithi
• My father, the late Mzee Leuben and Mama Jemima Amooti Kyenkya, my brothers Eng. Charles, Henry and Sunday, and my sisters Margaret, Lucy, Betty, Lydia and Dianah for prayers encouragement and support.
• My in-laws and relatives for the love, prayer and support.
• All the friends and well wishers and all the people of God gathered here today.
• And finally to my dear wife, Christine, who is a friend, helper, companion and mother of the children. Thank you for standing with me.
• To the children Atim Hope, Amony Faith, Lamwaka Charity, Lakica Grace, Agenorwot Patience and Kipak-Rwot Peace. Thank you for not letting us down. Please keep up the spirit. As a family God has called us to this high calling of service to His people, let us continually draw our strength from Him, “For he who calls you is faithful and He will do it” 1Thessalonians 5:24.
As I conclude, I request you to keep us in your prayers for the task ahead of us is enormous; but together we can build and restore the dignity and spirituality of our people and nation of Uganda .
In Joel 2:25-26 the Lord says “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you; and never again will my people be ashamed.” We shall rise and shine again.
May God grant you safe journey mercies back to your places and give you grace.
God bless you all. Amen.
THE RT. REV. JOHNSON GAKUMBA
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF NORTHERN UGANDA , GULU
Posted by Willy Akena at 5:14 PM