28 October 2010

A church burnt down in Northern Uganda

By Rev. Willy Akena
Although Kony’s war is over in Northern Uganda, but the spirit of burning grass thatched houses is still raging on. On Friday night, community of Akonyibedo village in Unyama Parish Aswa County woke up astounded to see the Church that was built by the Christian in this place burnt down, about five other houses were also burnt by one called Ojok Morris. According to the Catechist Florence Okoya, the Church was built last year 2009 during the time of return. The community who also lived in grass thatched huts, decided to put up a place for worship of God. This was a central place in their lives where they renew their lives and gain energy to continue moving. The Parish Priest of Pakwelo whose sub-parish is Akonyibedo, Rev. Komakech Charles reported the incident to the Bishop on Saturday 23rd October, 2010. You could see the trauma in the Reverend who did not even realize that he had not combed his hair while coming to report this case. On a visit to the Site of the incident, we found the church still burning. One old woman whose husband donated the land to the Church said “latim man omyero oto woko pien man tim marac atikatika” meaning the man who did this deserve to die.
Rev. Charles Okello the Diocesan Education Co-ordinator who also visited the scene strongly condemned this act as satanic and unchristian. To the Church he however said” We as a church need to stop building grass thatched houses like the one that was burnt down and focus on the ministry of healing of trauma and memories, and also appeal to the NGO’s throughout the world to help in resettlement and restoration” to the government the Reverend said “It is high time the government gives support to improve the livelihood of people in the community” Said Okello
On Sunday 24th October the Bishop of the Diocese of northern Uganda the Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba also visited the church. He was met by the Catechist and a few Christians who were praying under a tree now that their church is burnt down. They appreciated the visit by their Bishop and said it is a true sign of a good Shepherd. The Bishop equally condemned this act and blamed it on trauma as a result of the war. The Bishop also urged the christian to collect the bricks that still look good and make some more so that they rebuild their church. He however stopped them from using grass again as this may be burnt down. He encouraged them to raise the wall and together with them he will look for iron sheets.
In line with this incident the Bishop is kindly appealing to well wishers to support this church by donating iron sheets so that the people are resettled back to their church. Incase of interest to support, call the Bishop on + 256 (0) 772601421 or e-mail j.kumba.faith@hotmail.com

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