05 March 2012

Gulu remembers Archbishop Luwum

By Dennis Ojwee and Rev. Willy Akena
Hundred of Christians on 16th February thronged St. Janani Luwum Anglican Church in Layibi Central, Gulu Municipality to attend commemoration prayers for Archbishop Janani Luwum. Luwum, who was the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, was brutally murdered by former President Idi Amin on February 16th, 1977. Luwum was reportedly arrested and killed together with ministers Charles Oboth Ofumbi and Erinayo Oryema after a rally in Kampala over allegations of criticizing Amin’s government. Speaking during the occasion, the retired Anglican Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, Allan Gideon Oboma, urged Christians to stand firm in their faith as Luwum did. He urged the government to make St. Janani Luwum day a national prayer day.
Oboma also said Luwum should be included on the list of Uganda Martyrs, who are remembered nationally and internationally. Anania Akera 99, a resident of Gulu, said Luwum died for truth and justice. He donated sh 1 million towards the construction of a modern church at Laliya in Gulu Municipality named St. Janani Luwum.
The Bishop of northern Uganda, Johnson Gakumba praised Luwum for drafting the first 10 –year’s development plan for the church when he was enthroned the third Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda in 1974. He urged Christians to heed to their faith as soldiers of Christ saying their faith will help them overcome challenges. He appealed to Christians to put up a befitting Church in memory of Archbishop Janani Luwum. The bishop said if one person can put up a storied building how can the Christians together fail to put up a church building. Bishop Johnson urged Christian to read the book about Archbishop Luwum written by his secretary Margaret Ford titled Janani the making of a Martyr. He also said another publication of that Book is soon coming out and it will have a chapter that talks about how the life of Janani Luwum speaks to us today.
In another related development the Principal of Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College Rev. Wilson Atine said, there are seven important things that happened to Archbishop Janani Luwum that are worth remembering and these are:- Luwum was the third Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, secondly he was the third Archbishop of the Province of Church of Uganda Rwanda and Boga Zaire, thirdly Luwum was killed with two others (three people killed), fourthly there were three wounds on Luwum’s body (mouth, chest and stomach), fifthly Luwum body was taken to three different places before burial(Namirembe, Madi Opei and finally Mucwini) Sixth Luwum was buried in the third grave , and Seventh, three things were missing on Luwum’s body (the Cross, ring and the attire).
Bishop Johnson quoted Janani Luwm words about educated people “Many educated people have run away from the church, they want the church to fall. But today I say, if the church if falling let it fall on me.” This was at All Saints cathedra Kitgum. Bishop Johnson said the church will never fall, instead many of the Christians, clergy or lay readers will fall but the church will remain strong. He challenged the educated people to come back to church and support it growth. During the prayer a total of over 10 million shillings was raised in pledges and cash for the construction of the Church at layibi.

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