30 December 2013

St.Philips Celebrates 100 years as Rev Canon Ayela bid farewell

St.Philips Cathedral Southern Side view
The Dean of St. Philips Cathedral Rev. Canon Ayela Okot Othniel Labeja who has been the Diocesan Secretary diocese of Northern Uganda was given a befitting send off on Sunday 29th December 2013. At least ten million Uganda Shilling was given to the outgoing Diocesan Secretary /Dean of St. Philips Cathedral in addition to many assorted items. The Diocese will sell one used pickup and give the money to him as well; the Rev. Canon Ayela said he might not be able to meet the cost of running a vehicle so he preferred to be given money instead so that he can invest in Agriculture. The Bishop now becomes the Dean of St. Philips Cathedral.
Rev. Patrick Lumumba who has been the Diocesan Planning and Development officer is the new Diocesan Secretary Diocese of Northern Uganda.
The procession  to Re-Dedicate the Cathedral
On the same day St. Philips Cathedral marked 100 years of her existence, the Cathedral that was first build in 1913 with grass thatched roof, was renovated in 1929 where the  grass was removed and replaced with Iron Sheets. This year St. Philips had yet another remarkable change where the roof was changed, the wall was lifted up and the floor tiled. The total cost of the renovation is about 200 millions Uganda Shillings. This money came from Friends of St .Philips within and outside the country.
Passing through the cemetery
The function was attended by many dignitaries including but not limited to the following: - The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon Jacob Oulanyah, Minister Sam Engola, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan the women member of Parliament for Gulu District, Brigadier Otema Awany ,Hon Lillian Adong representing the people of Nwoya in the Parliament,  the Paramount Chief of Acholi David Onen Acana 11, Resident District Commissioners for Gulu, Nwoya and Pader, Permanent Secretaries, Commissioners and other religious leaders.
Bishop Opening the Cathedral
By the time of compiling this story at least 26 Churches have been built within the four years that Bishop Johnson has been the Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.  We give Glory to God for this great work.

Too full to accommodate  all

Rev. Canon Ayela in the middle together with his wife Pirina being greeted by Christians
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon Jacob Oulanyah

The cakes

The Church build in 1913

28 November 2013

In yet another historic even, the Seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda on 26th November installed Seven Canons in a colourful ceremony held at Keyo Musalaba.  Those made canons  includes three priests and four lay: Rev Canon Willy Akena - Chaplain to the Bishop, Rev, Odora Willy Francis-Mission Co-ordinator, Rev. Canon Akuta Wilson-Archdeacon of Aswa, and four lay canons( Canon John Stephen Odong Onyango-former headteacher of Gulu High School), Canon Abednego Ongom former MP for Omoro Country, Mrs Christine Onyango-  Mothers Union President, and Mrs Doreen Avola- Mothers Union treasurer.
Keyo Musalaba is where the first Missionaries of the CMS preached the Gospel in Acholi land.
We call for you prayers

From left to right, Willy Akena, John Stephen Odong Onyango, Akuta Wilson, Odora Willy Francis, Bishop Johnson, Doreen Avola, Christine Onyango and Abednego Ongom

14 November 2013

28 Lay Readers Commissioned

A total of 28 Lay Readers were commissioned on Sunday November 10th 2013 in  a colourful ceremony held at the Janani Luwum Theological College. While delevering a sermon, the Rev. Canon Ayela Okot Othniel Labeja appealed to the Lay Readers to devote their time in serving God. He also challenged the spouses to allow the Lay Readers do the Lord's Work instead of pulling them down with family issues.
All this is happened under the wise leadership of Sandra Earixson -the College Principal. The College was closed for some years and just re-opened this year. Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College is offering Lay Readers, Certificate as well as Diplo
ma in Theology of Uganda Christian University

07 October 2013

Celebration as Gulu High gets a bus

Ululation, dancing and jumping filled the air as students of Gulu High School receives the long awaited School bus. The Isuzu bus arrived in the School on Friday 4th October 2013. A short prayer of dedication was done at the School led by Bishop Johnson Gakumba, assisted by the Chaplain of the School Rev. Jane Todera and the Vicar st.Philips Rev. James Okaka.
 According to the Headteacher of the School Ocan David, the bus was bought at a total cost of 340 million Uganda Shillings and that 44% of the money came from the School while 66% was bank loan to be paid within a period of three to four years.
The District Education Officer Rev. Vincent Oceng Ocen said the bus must be used for:-taking the students for study tour, sports activities, and other co-curricular activities. The DEO also said  the bus must take staff for retreat and also other people can hire inorder to offset the loan.  One of the student said " Now we can also be consider among the big schools"

02 October 2013

St.Philips Cathedral under renovation after 100 years

Bishop Johnson, Rev. James Okaka and Rev. Patrick Lumumba
Western Side of the Cathedral
One hundred years down the road St.Philips Cathedral was build by missionaries of the CMS  in partnership with the Christians. The Church remained in that state with very little renovation done. Right now the Cathedral is under renovation and the old iron sheets are being removed.
The process of removing the iron sheets going on
I spoke to the  Vicar of St.Philips Cathedral who said " Cwinya yom pi gin ma Lubanga tye ka tiyo ne ,Lubanga otiyo me aura" meaning I am happy for what God is doing. He continued to said that the Bishop has a special gift of building Churches. He then appealed to the Christians to mobilise themselves to start building a modern Cathedral, saying this one is being renovated to help for the time being. According to the Bishop of the Diocese Johnson Gakumba, the renovation is a result of support from Friends of St.Philips who are outside Uganda.  According to the foreman I found on the ground the renovation work is due to take a maximum two months. There is plan to celebrate Centenary of St.Philips Cathedral this year in December. 

Vicar St.Philips Cathedral

29 September 2013

Many are Baptised, Confirmed but disapear Said Bishop

Some of the students of WDC confirmed by Bishop Johnson
Sunday 29 September Bishop Johnson Gakumba confirmed 51 Candidates at Bungatira Church of Uganda. Among those confirmed included 13 students of Women Development Centre. While speaking to them the Bishop Said " We have Baptised and Confirmed so many, but after sometime you do not find them in the Church"  He then appealed to the newly confirmed to play their roles of  being: Choir, preachers, teachers,
ushers, cleaners, and any other responsibility that may be assigned to them.
Rev. Sandra Earixson  participated in the service
During the function the Bishop also urged Christian to complete the church building which has been there for close to 10 years. He challenged the Christian to finished the church within one year. Many Christians came forward pledging to support the completion of the church.  The local leaders appealed to the parents to allow the girl child to stay in School. They noted with sadness that so many young girls leave school and elope, subsequently becoming child mothers.
On Saturday 28th September I had time with orphans who are at the Fathers House in St.Philips Cathedral Gulu. The centre came as a result of
Rev.Willy Akena in a group photo with children at the Fathers House
local initiative and support from Global Orphan. During my visit, I found 33 children under the care of mothers. The children welcome me very well, some of them were taking bath after working together with the mothers in harvesting beans which they planted in their garden at the Diocesan Farm.  These children needs your prayers and support inorder for them to grow into mature responsible citizens of the country.

27 September 2013

Ordination of Priests and Deacons

Many things went on in the Diocese of Northern Uganda, the Diocese ordained six deacons and priested two clergy. The Deacons are: Acaye Godfrey, Alanyo Jackline, Opio Godfrey, Olara Collins Oyo, Sandra Earixson, and Nyek Siomon Peter. While the Deacons who where priested are: Emmily Wilson and Nyeko Robert Luku.
We also hosted the retired Bishop of Northern Uganda Rt Rev. Dr. Benoni Ogwal Obwang the mission of the Bishop was Peace and Reconciliation. Many people where able to reconcile with one another. More to come Pray also for the Diocesan Secretary who is due to retire in December. Very exciting activities at the Women Development Centre -details coming shortly

19 June 2013

Early Child Development Centre

On the spot where the first missionaries stationed in 1904, there is a Early Child Development Centre which now has 67 children in both Kindergarten and Primary one. We hope these children will develop into responsible citizens. They need our support as they still study in a kind of make shift shelter (grass thatched).

Visiting Alumni Amuru

Monday 17th we visited former students of WDC in Awere about 80 kilometers East of Gulu town, today Tuesday we went North West of Gulu to Lacor and Keyo, we met 10 former students at Lacor and 2 at Keyo. Many success stories.  Infact DUFA has contributed greatly in transforming these formerly vulnerable girls (women). We thank them for all the support.

11 June 2013

Ordination of Priests and Deacons

The Diocese of Northern Uganda is due to ordain 6 Deacons and 2 Priests in a ceremony to take place on 11th August 2013 in Agung.
According to a  circular sent to all the parishes of the Diocese of Northern Uganda the following are to be ordained Deacons:- Acaye Denis, Alanyo Neckline, Earixson Sandra, Nyeko Simon Peter, Olara Collins Oyo and Opiyo Godfrey. While Rev. Marilyn Ywette Wilson and Rev. Nyeko Robert Luku will be Priested.
Bishop Johnson Gakumba introducing Sandra Earixson in Bobi recently
Currently the Diocese of Northern Uganda is looking for men and Women who are willing to be trained in the ordained ministry.  Archbishop Janani Luwum is now open and there is hope that the gap being created as a result of a number of senior clergy retiring will be filled accordingly.
Agung is an historical site where the first missionaries of the Church Missionary Society knelt down to pray after crossing the River Nile from Bunyoro. A modern Church is now built on this very important site. We thank God for Bishop Johnson reign in office for just three and half years, but more than 15 Churches have been built. We wish to appreciate all those who are supporting the construction and rehabilitation of Northern Uganda.