28 November 2011

Changing the face of Northern Uganda

The Golden Jubilee Cake

Mother Union President Mrs Doreen Omaya and the Chairperson Clergy spouse Mrs Christine Onyango handing over a gifts to Rev. Merilyn Wilson
Students of Gulu High School
The Uganda Cancer Insitute van

Minster Kabakumba opening the Church at Musalaba
Minister Kabakumba Matsiko

Bishop Sunday Miller looking at the Order of service for ordination of Merilyn Wilson

Bishop Johnson introducing a team of Doctors
On November 26th the Diocese of Northern Uganda celebrated 107(1904-2011) years of arrival of Christianity into Acholi land and 50 (1961-2011) years of her existence as a Diocese in the Province of the Church of Uganda. This year’s celebration was the most colourful one in 42 years. According to elders, the last celebration that was held on the exact spot was in 1969, during the reign of the Late Archbishop Janani Luwum, who was then the Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
President Museveni asked the people of Acholi to forget about the war as the government continues with its reconstruction efforts in the region.
At the celebrations which took place at Keyo Hills, Lamogi Sub-county in Amuru District, the President said forgiveness and embracing reconciliation are cordial virtues that could heal the wounds caused by the LRA insurgency.
“Bitterness will not take this area anywhere, people must forgive and reconcile with one another as the region redevelops,” he said, in a statement read for him by Minister for Presidency Kabakumba Masiko.
Mr. Museveni re-emphasised the government’s commitment to redevelop and change the face of the region that was wrecked by a two-decade war, leaving many people without viable livelihoods.
The President noted that the already existing reconstruction interventions would be enforced further to realise real rehabilitation. “The government has the readiness and will to do everything to stop bad memories of the war among the people through reparations. We must have the will to help our people out of bondage,” the President said. The President pledge to help the construction of St. Philips Cathedral and other churches using the Northern Uganda Reconstruction Programme and others.
The Anglican missionaries journeyed up to Keyo via Agung in Anaka Sub-County, Nwoya District. At Agung, they knelt down to give thanks and pray and that is how the name Agung, which means kneeling, came about.
At Keyo village, a big cross (Musalaba) was planted as a monument for the missionaries’ arrival in Acholi. The cross lent its name to the village which is now commonly known as Musalaba village. It is located in Lamogi sub-county, Amuru district, about 11 km from Gulu District. The cross was destroyed during the war; sources say the man who looted this place was looking for mercury which was put as a lightening conductor.
The missionaries wrote on the concrete base of the cross a declaration to mark the spot saying (here, the gospel was preached to the people of Acholi in 1904. Another concrete block conveyed the same message in the Acholi language “Kany Gikwongo tucu iye Jiri bot jo Acholi 1904”
A memorial Shrine like the one at Namugongo has been built and officially opened.
Bishop Johnson Gakumba called on the Acholi’s sons and daughters who were educated by the Church to give back to the community by contributing towards the building of churches.
At least two Deacons were ordained and these are Rev. Nyeko Robert Luku and Rev. Merilyn Wilson –the first European to be ordained in the Diocese of Northern Uganda. While delivering his sermon the Assistant Bishop of London, Rt. Rev. Sandy Miller called on the Bishop together with the clergy to be strong like Joshua in the bible. The bishop said things can be done because of intercession. “Get Godly men and Women to pray for you” the Bishop Sunday said
Four Deacons were priested and these were Rev. Otto Zachariah, Rev. Olara James, Rev. Kibwota Samuel and Rev. Kevin Olweny.
As part of the day’s event, a medical camp was organized by Dr. Margaret Okello a consultant from Mulago Hospital assisted by fellow doctors and nurses from Kampala and Gulu. The Uganda Cancer Institute took their vehicle for screening people with cancer. The medical services were as a way of giving back to the community, because Dr. Margaret Okello comes from this area of Musalaba and she is one of the first Acholi girls to go to the University to do medicine.
Bishop Johnson together with his Guest Bishop Sunday Miller led a six kilometers walk that attracted more than one thousand people. This was to demonstrate the power of God on this land of Keyo Musalaba which had been abandoned and vandalized during the LRA war in Northern Uganda. A visit to this place will certainly show a changing face of the Diocese of Northern Uganda. Many people now see this as a new day-a new beginning in the history of the Anglican Church in northern Uganda. Already more than 16 churches are under construction.
A day before the celebration a mass wedding of 38 couples took place at Musalaba.

25 November 2011

38 Wedded at Musalaba Shrine

Today Friday 25th November 2011 a total of 38 coupes got wedded at Musalaba Keyo by Bishop Johnson Gakumba assisted by Retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese. This is part of the big celebration being held here at the place where the first Church missionaries’ society preached the Gospel to the Acholi people in 1904. While delivering his sermon, the Bishop Mac Baker Ochola 11 called upon the newly wedded couples to remain loving. Picking from the so many Acholi tales, the Bishop challenged the young generation to think carefully before choosing a partner, because some people are attracted because of beauty or money.
Tomorrow Saturday we will have ordination of deacons and priest and the preacher is Bishop Sandy Miller. One of those to be ordained is Merylin Wilson, who is a lay curate in London

29 October 2011

Diocese of Northern Uganda, Gulu celebrate Golden Jubilee, 26th November 2011

The Church today
An open air mission in the early years of Christianity in Acholi

The Diocese of Northern Uganda established in 1961 will celebrate her 50 years of existence; the celebration is combined with 107th anniversary of CMS missionary to Acholi land. This year big events will be held on the actual spot where the first missionaries planted the Cross (Musalaba). On 26th November 1904 the CMS mission station was established at Keyo and Bishop Alfred Tucker, Dr. and Mrs. Albert Cook, and Rev. AB Loyd were the key players. Later Rev. AE Pleydell and Rev AD. Kitching joined Loyd at Keyo. Keyo was selected by the missionaries because of its central locationl; the place is a few miles away from Sir Samuel Baker’s Fort of Patiko. The Shrine is almost completed. The Diocese is also celebrating 50 years of her existence since 1961 when the Diocese of the Upper Nile was subdivided into the Diocese of Mbale, Soroti and Northern Uganda.
In 2004 the Diocese celebrated her Centenary and Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi had this to Say” The celebration is also un usual and unique as it is taking place in Gulu where the armed rebellion by the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) has a devastating impact on the people of Acholi. The Situation is of ruins and desolation. It is painful and indeed it is un usual for the suffering people to Celebrate”
This year 2011 the story is different almost 99% of the people who had been in the camps have returned to their original villages and very busy rebuilding their lives. The area is very peaceful and free movement of people, animals as well as vehicles is visible even at night.
It is also a wonderful coincidence that the 7th Bishop of the Diocese has both his names having 7 letters each and is overseeing the 107 years of Christianity Celebration in Acholi land. See the miracle JOHNSON (7) GAKUMBA (7), SEVENTH BISHOP, 107TH YEARS. According to the Jew the letter 7 is a complete number.
The key activities will include: -
• Mass wedding, already over 45 couples have registered.
• Ordination of Deacons and Priests.
• Four deacons will be priested and these are: -Rev. Kevin Olweny currently a Chaplain at Awere Secondary School and Unyama National Teachers College, Rev. Zachariah Otto, a Chaplain of Keyo Secondary School, Rev. James Olara Chaplain at Koch Goma Secondary School, and Rev. Samuel Kibwota, chaplain at Gulu Core Primary Teachers’ College.
• Those to be ordained deacons are Merilyn Wilson ( Lay Curate at Holy trinity Church Brompton London UK) and Nyeko Robert Luku( currently caretaker Agung Parish)
• A one week medical camp is also being organized, and Dr. Margaret Okello a consultant at Mulago Hospital, one of the first Acholi girls from keyo to have gone to the University is spearheading this.
• A one week door to door mission has been planned.
• Finally the official opening of the Shrine that has been built on the sport where the missionaries first preached the Gospel to the Acholi People.
Invitation has been extended to the President of Uganda His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. All the Dioceses that were curved out of Northern Uganda like: - Diocese of Lango, Madi West Nile, Nebbi and Kitgum have also been invited to come for this celebration.
The Cultural and Political Leaders like the Kabaka of Buganda and Rwodi of Acholi had a zeal for what would bring change in the life of their people. Hence, they invited the Missionaries. We now have the challenge of keeping the fire of the Gospel burning even brighter.
The theme of the celebration is:”Arise and shine again”
You are all welcome to join us in the celebrations.

27 October 2011

Set to be the United Nation Secretary General

Ocen Walter a Senior Four student at Gulu High School.

A Letter from Ocen Walter
I am very happy to communicate to you and I hope you are doing well still. I am Ocan Walter,one of the beneficiary of the Bristol Scholarship, I am from Odyak Village, Gulu District. I love my studies so much but I am facing difficulties in payment of fees because our fees is shillings 276,000 and you help is 170,000 Uganda shillings which is very good but I now face problem in clearing the remaining 106,000 balance because my parents now have nowhere to cultivate due to land disputes.
My good sponsor, I remain still a committed students, I attained 15 aggregates in our mock and was the best student, I do hope to get 8 for 8 aggregates in final exams. Hoping to join King’s College Budo because I would like to get government scholarship in A’ Level so I am herby begging with great hope that could you please meet the high fees of Budo King’s College for two years and enable me to get to University. My response towards your scholarship remain positive because my vision/dream is to become the future United Nation Secretary General so that many poor fellows in the World would get international Scholarship to study through me. I am determined to become! Yes I will through you taking me to Budo.
Finally my sponsor could you please help us by paying us in full so that we remain committed in our studies.

29 September 2011

Bishop Gakumba “demystifies” Awere Hills

Climbing the hill

Bishop Johnson Baptizing on the Hill
UPDF Soldiers patrolling Awere Hills during the LRA war

Written by Acholi Times Correspondent

Monday, 26 September 2011 01:16
The Anglican Gulu Bishop Johnson Gakumba last Sunday climbed Awere Hills and baptized four children as a way of demystifying Joseph Kony’s alleged spiritual powers.
It claimed the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leader Gen Joseph Kony turned Awere Hills, located about 60km south-east of Gulu town along the Gulu-Moroto Road, an epicentre of his two-decade brutal war.
Furthermore, it is alleged Kony received instructions to start the war while atop Awere Hills and frequently visited the area to allegedly speak to his spirits on how to defeat the government forces and sustain the war.
The LRA rebel leader, who hails from Odek village in Awere sub-county in Omoro county; just a few meters from the Awere Hills, was also reportedly using the place for treating his fighters using water and herbs from the hills.
Bishop Gakumba on Sunday baptized four children- Jonhson Ouma, Geoffrey Kinyera, Francis Watmon, and Eunice Lakot on top of the hills, in what he said was a sign that the hills are no longer a source of fear and suffering.
Quoting from the Bible, the bishop said “the rock is God’s creation and He has given full authority for human beings to benefit from it.”
George Aligech Lapir, a resident of the area says that no one believed that the hills had some supernatural powers but they became famous when Kony launched his rebellion from the area in 1987. Lapir says apart from the Eastern side having foot marks, there is nothing peculiar about the 100m tall hills. He said that propaganda has tarnished the name of the area and that no God could have given Kony instructions on the Hill.
The top of the hills was left unattended throughout the two-decade war until late in 2009, when it became clear that Kony would not come back to the area to consult his alleged mediums.

21 September 2011

Churches under construction

Pakwelo Church
Koro Church
As we draw nearer to 107 years of Christianity in Acholiland, a number of church building are coming up. On 26th November 2011 we will be celebrating 107 of arrival of Church Missionary Society (CMS) in this part of the World. A big event is underway and for the first time in many years the celebration will take place at the original site -Musalaba. A small but beautiful shrine is about to be completed. We will also have mass wedding, medical clinic, mission and ordination of deacons and priest.
We call upon you to join us during this year’s celebration.

Bishop warns of cyber criminals

Bishop Johnson , Picture by Rev.Willy Akena
Wednesday, 21st September, 2011

By Dennis Ojwee

The public has been cautioned against cyber criminals who hack into people’s email and create fake accounts to con them.

The warning was issued by the Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, Johnson Gakumba.

He was addressing journalists at the diocese’s headquarters in Gulu municipality on Monday.

“Cyber criminals have created a Facebook account using my name and photo. They send mails to con money from international organisations like in the US, claiming that I am the one asking for the money,” said Gakumba.

“Be aware that at the moment, I do not have a Facebook account to send mails or chat. If any one sends you an email with my name, just know those are cyber criminals,” Gakumba added.

The bishop’s remarks come after a cyber-criminal suspect identified as Charles Kinyera and his allies were arrested by the Police in Kampala. The suspects were reportedly sending mails and asking financial contributions using the bishop’s name.

Before his arrest, Kinyara had reportedly extorted over sh3m since September 2010, from several big international organisations based in the USA. Gakumba denied knowledge or relationship of Kinyara and said it is possible that the suspect was working with some malicious people.

27 April 2011

Acholi urged to shun rebellion

Sunday, 24th April, 2011

By C. lubangakene and Justin Moro
THE 1995 massacre by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in Atiak and others in Acholi sub-region should be an eye opener to the Acholi not to rebel against government.

The remarks were made on Wednesday by the Rwot of Atiak, Santo Apire, during the 16th annual memorial prayer for over 250 people killed by the LRA in Atiak.

Apire advised the Acholi to shun any rebellion against the Government.
“ What the LRA did should teach us that rebellion is bad,” Apire said.

He urged the Amuru district authorities to solve the boundary dispute between the district and Adjumani.

Apire said such disputes breed fertile grounds for insecurity in the region.
The Bishop of northern Uganda diocese, Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba, who led the mass, said it was unfortunate that Kony was still committing atrocities in Congo and the Central African Republic.

Gakumba, who is also the chairman of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative called upon the Government to renew peace talks in order to end suffering in the Great Lakes region.
He said military options rarely end guerilla wars.

Gakumba urged the Government to compensate those affected by the war in order to improve their lives.
He said the time for war was over and urged people to embark on reconstruction.

Mathew Akiya, the Lamwo district LC5 chairman, said the district was planning to construct a memorial site at Corner Ogwec in Lokung sub-county, in remembrance of the over 450 people killed by the LRA in 1997 and over 400 others killed and buried in mass graves during the Idi Amin regime.

He castigated the elders for fuelling land disputes, saying they were being bought to do wrong things.

Betty Bigombe, the woman MP-elect for Amuru district, urged residents to forgive the LRA for what happened in Atiak and Acholi.

The 1995 Atiak massacre survivors want the Government to compensate them like it has done in other parts of the country.

“We know that the budget reading of the 2010/2011 financial year put aside sh200m for families of victims of the 1989 Mukura massacre in Teso.

While we applaud your efforts to compensate victims from this incident, we also want to be compensated,” the memorandum to President Yoweri Museveni, signed by the Atiak survivors committee chairman, George William Odong, read in part.

20 April 2011

Acholi Religious Leaders Condemn Demonstrations

Where as following the successful and generally peaceful presidential elections conducted on the 18th February 2011 and also as the people of Acholi having broken the camps of internally displaced persons and have returned to their villages, considering the challenges they are facing in rebuilding their lives, aware that they can easily be drawn into violence, we the Acholi Religious Leaders in St. Monica Girls Tailoring School on Sunday 17th April resolved:
• To condemn the killing. Looting, destruction of properties and injuries of many people in Gulu on the 14th April 2011.
• To mourn with those who lost their relatives and send their message of condolences to them.
• To sensitize the public to shun from politicians who would want to take every opportunity to cause states of unrest.
• To condemn the Walk to Work campaign, because its results have always involve human suffering, destruction of property, looting and to the extreme cases loss of lives.
• To urge the public to first seek police approval incase they want to organize public demonstrations.
• To identify some key political /party leaders to dialogue with other than let them spill their grievances in public.
• To invite the members of parliament of Acholi sub-region on a one to one discussion with religious leaders on matters affecting the public.
• To us e the media houses to sensitize the public on effects of demonstration and call upon the sow love instead.
• To urge the police to play their role of protecting the people other than kill them
• The army should have mechanism of controlling the arm in quelling down demonstration
• Police should watch these people walk to their destinations. Beyond those destinations the police should check.
• There is need for political reconciliation in this country as many who lost the election are still nursing their losses.

19 April 2011


Dear Leaders
As we celebrate the Palm Sunday, we need to remember to surrender our lives as a donkey of Jesus to ride on and avoid complaining like the pharisees. Remember this story that is so encouraging;

There was a blind girl who hated herself just
because she's blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend.
He's always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she
would marry her boyfriend.
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and
then she can see everything, including her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend asked her, "now that you can see the
world, will you marry me?"
The girl was shocked when she saw that her
boyfriend is blind too, and refused to marry him.
Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote
a letter to her saying. "Just take care of my eyes dear."

This is how human brain changes when the status
changed. Only few remember what life was before, and who's
always been there even in the most painful situations.
Remember Life Is A Gift.
Today, before you think of saying an unkind word -
Think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food -
Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife -
Think of someone who's crying out to God
for a companion.

Today before you complain about life - Think of
someone who went too early to heaven.
Before you complain about your children - Think of
someone who desires children but they're barren.
Before you argue about your dirty house, someone
didn't clean or sweep -Think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive - Think
of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job -
Think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished
they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger or
condemning another -Remember that not one of us are without sin and we
all answer to one maker.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down -
Put a smile on your face and thank God you're alive
and still around.
Life is a gift, Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it and fulfil it.

05 January 2011

A visit to Musalaba " the Cross" in pictures


A team from St. John's Church visited the Hills of Keyo where 107 years ago the first missionary established a mission station. The Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda and the Retired Bishop Allan Gideon Oboma led the team. At least 37 members of the community welcomed the visitors. A stone with an inscription “The Gospel was preached to the Acholi People in 1904" could be seen in pieces. According to Muzee Okwonga Andrew Enoci said " I kare ma wan dong waringo wacito i camp aye jo ma gitye ki miti me lim gubino gubalo kabedo man" Meaning the Monument was destroyed by some people who had a desire for money during the period when people where in the camps because of the war. “I am privilege to be here for a pilgrimage to this holy ground" Said Rev. Dr. Greg Snyder the team leader of the USA, St. John's Church. Bishop Allan Oboma appealed to the community to start rehabilitating this place. While Bishop Johnson said with prayers and support from everybody by November 26th 2011,a structure will be erected on this land and that the annual celebration will no longer take place at Keyo Primary School but on Musalaba hill. The community listed the following needs: - Church building, Theological /Primary School, and Water. At Keyo Parish Headquarters a church building has reached roofing stage

03 January 2011

Never be defiled as you start the New Year says Bishop

Group Photo with Bishop,visitors from St. John and Staff of the Diocese,

Today Monday 3rd January 2011 is when we officially opened office at the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
The day started by staff sharing their experiences of last year and their plans for this year 2011. The staffs were very grateful to the Diocese and the Bishop for work well done. While giving his remarks, the Bishop said this year is going to be a year for rebuilding family foundation and this would begin with the staff at the headquarters. He also encouraged those who have the calling to serve God in the ordain ministry to come up.
One staff Moses Otim caused laughter when he said he had been ordained informally-meaning people call him Reverend and that he would like to be ordained before he dies. Another staff appealed to the rest to own a Bible for themselves and read. One other staff said working with the diocese helped him to stop drinking alcohol. A driver said “when driving the bishop you must apply maximum skills" Others appreciated the saving and loan scheme which had helped them to build their capacity in a number of ways, like starting a business, building houses and paying fees for themselves and their children.
We also had a team of visitors from St. John's Church South Carolina USA. The visitors said it was time to rebuild, rehabilitate and reform this diocese and that they have been praying for this to happen and be part of the diocese.
The Bishop Concluded by urging staff to remain undefiled, faithful and with integrity quoting from the book of Daniel chapter 1:8
“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating food and wine given to them by the King. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods"

02 January 2011

St. John’s, John’s Island team is here in Northern Uganda

Clair Miller taking picture in the Bishop's garden under construction.

At Christ Church
Fr Greg Snyder handed over a Holy COmmunion Cup to the Dean of St.Philips Cathedral Rev. Canon Ayela in the presence of Bishop Johnson and many christians.

A team from St. Johns Church South Carolinea is finally here in Northern Uganda for a visit.Team members includes ;Fr Greg Snyder, Emily Rudolph, Thom Pennington,Leila Baldwin ,Clair Miller, and Peter.
Sunday 2nd January 2011 they attended a service at St. Philip's Cathedral Gulu where Fr Greg was the preacher and therafter they went to Christ Church for the English service. Fr. Greg encouraged the Christian to make use of the different spiritual gifts that God has given them. He said God is faithful and will restore the people in Northern Uganda who are just coming out of the war situation. He said St.John's has been praying for the Diocese for the last three years and that Bishop Johnson made them aware of the situation in this diocese during his visit to them early this year.Continue to pray for this team so that a stong partnership is built.

Welcome to 2011

The Bishop’s Guest house now at roofing stage

You are all most welcome to the Year 2011. Thanks you very much for being part of us during the year 2010.

One year of Bishop's Johnson Gakumba Ministry 20th December 2009-20th December 2010
The Presidential handshake: Bishop Johnson shakes hands with the President of Uganda His Excellency Yoweri
Kaguta Museven, while His grace Henry Luke Orombi and Mama Christine look on.
First Deacons to be ordained by Bishop Johnson on
26th November 2010: Olara James, Olweny Kevin,
Kibwota Samuel and Otto Zachariah
Bishop was consecrated and Enthroned as the 7th Bishop of the Diocese of
Northern Uganda in a colourful ceremony officiated by His Grace, the Archbishop of
the Province of the Church of Uganda Henry Luke Orombi, and in attendance was
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,
Ambassadors, and many dignitaries .
A cross section of Bishops who attended the
Confirmation Candidates Koro parish at
Part of Sacred Heart Confirmation Candidates.
Pope Paul 11 Laliya, Confirmation Candidates.
Christ Church
confirmation candidates
A group photo with goats and confirmation
candidates at Christ Church
Nwoya church building at foundation level.
New St. Philip Cathedral under construction.
With support from the Bible Society of Uganda the talking Bible is handed over to clergy for Bible study
The biggest tree planted by Bishop Johnson
during the first year of his ministry in the
Diocese of Northern Uganda
The Diocese handed over two cars to retired Bishops, Gideon Allan Oboma and Nelson

Dennis and Phoebe at their reception venue
Inside St. Michael Obiya Confirmation Candidates in front of Bobi Church
Cwero candidates
Layibi sub-Parish in Christ Church Parish
Confirmation Candidates in front of Bobi Church
Part of Keyo Church under construction
Awere only the foundation dug Koro Parish, Lakwatomer Sub-Parish candidates


• Launched four years Strategic plan
• Provincial quota arrears worth 28.7
million paid.
• Retreat with the clergy and their
• Youth conference
• The first Lay readers and pastors
• Clergy wives fellowship
• Handing over of sewing machines to
students at the Women Development
• Public Address system for mission
• Cars for retired bishops
• Visit to all parishes except Pakwelo
• Wall fencing of Bishop’s residence
• Theological Students at University
• Maintaining a minimum stipend of an
average of 50,000 Uganda shillings
about 22 US$ per month
No Parishes Status of the Church
Total 1360 12 2261
The Bishop’s Guest house now at roofing stage
South Caroline; St. John’s Church USA Hanover -Germany
not have church building and so prayers are conducted in classrooms or under
trees. Some are grass thatched building which can be easily burnt down like
the one in the picture.
2. NEED FOR BIBLES/PRAYER BOOKS. Currently the number of Christians who
have Bibles and Prayer books is less than 10%. In the past it was requirement
for every confirmation Candidate to own a Bible, now it is not happening.