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Our Uganda Connection

Our sister congregation The Cathedral Church of Sts. Philip and Andrew, Mukono
and our good friend the Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba, Bishop of the Diocese of Mityana


History

In June 2003, Light of Christ, then St. Stephen’s, joined with SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) in co-hosting a mission to the Northern Neck of Virginia. The team consisted of three Ugandans and two Americans. The Ugandans were the Rev. Stephen Kaziimba, Evangelist Paul Ssembiro, and the Rev. Jackson Baalwa. Jackson and Stephen were from Mukono, the home of the Anglican Diocese of Mukono. We became friends. Paul came back twice to visit and preach at Light of Christ, and Stephen continued to visit us when he was in the United States working on his doctoral degree.

In our times together, we agreed to pursue a sister relationship between Light of Christ and the Cathedral Church of Sts. Philip and Andrew in Mukono, where Stephen served as Canon and Provost. Stephen continued as Provost of the Cathedral until October 2008 when he was consecrated a bishop in the Church of Uganda and called to serve in the Diocese of Mityana. Acting now as Provost of the Cathedral is our friend the Rev. John Ssebudde, who visited Light of Christ in May 2006.

The Rev. Stephen and Margaret Kazimba   Living Hope
The Rev. Stephen and Margaret Kaziimba
May 2007
 
The Living Hope Salvation Choir
August 2007

About Mukono

The Church of Sts. Philip and Andrew is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Mukono, under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Elia Paul Luzinda Kizito. Sunday worship at the Cathedral Church of Sts. Philip and Andrew usually involves over 1,000 people. A tent is set up outside to house the overflow crowds. The choirs and schools are lively centers of Christian witness and ministry.

Sts. Philip and Andrew Cathedral photo The Church of Sts. Philip and Andrew is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Mukono, under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Elia Paul Luzinda Kizito. Sunday worship at the Cathedral Church of Sts. Philip and Andrew usually involves over 1,000 people. A tent is set up outside to house the overflow crowds.

There are over 1,500 adults and children in the cathedral congregation. As acting Provost of the diocesan cathedral, John is not only rector of the cathedral congregation, but also oversees forty other congregations and numerous schools, many of which are “out in the bush.” Travel to these rural congregations and schools is demanding and difficult. The Cathedral of Sts. Philip and Andrew is adjacent to the Uganda Christian University. This university grew out of Bishop Tucker Seminary, which was the largest Anglican seminary in Africa. In 1997, it became a university and began offering degrees in subjects other than theology.



About Mityana

The Diocese of Mityana is home to almost 1 million people, of whom 2/3 are Christians, and there is a growing Muslim community. The Rt. Rev. Stephen Kaziimba was consecrated 5th bishop of Mityana in October 2008. He presides over about half a million Anglicans in 80 parishes which include 509 churches and 450 schools. The diocese encompasses a vast geographic territory of beautiful rolling hills, a small lake, many marshlands where the people harvest papyrus, dense stands of fruit trees, and fertile plain. The bishop faces a challenge in traveling to all the churches, many of which are accessed only by long, rutted dirt road roads through backcountry.

Rev. Cerar and Rt. Rev. Stephen Kaziimba
The Rev. Jeff and Bishop Stephen:
friends and brothers in Christ
Sign in Mityana

The Mityana area was the site of major battles in the civil wars of 1979–1986. Many people lost family members, all their property, and their livelihood. Many were either forced to leave or fled to other parts of Uganda. The return has been slow, continuing even today. Hence the motto of the Diocese, “Come, let us rebuild”, from the second chapter of the book of Nehemiah. Bishop Stephen has taken that motto as the theme for the early part of his episcopacy and is urging aggressive action to build the diocese both spiritually and physically, emphasizing discipleship, evangelism and revitalization.

mothers union in Mityana Uganda

Mityana Diocese Mother's Union, Uganda



About Our Partnership

In his letter to Light of Christ (then known as "St. Stephen’s") establishing the partnership between our churches, the Rev. Stephen Kaziimba shared his vision for the partnership, which included the following:

  1. Prayer and encouragement: “Wherever the church is, she is facing challenges. We need to have this prayer support from each other.”
  2. Mission and Ministry: “We can exchange ideas on how to do ministry and mission. We can visit each other. The people of Uganda are so hospitable. They are ready to receive and share the love of Christ with you. Come and share the message with our people.”
  3. The Mukono House Project: An income-producing commercial venture “for the purpose of funding our mission” — to support orphans, mission work, pastors and their salaries.
Mukono Cathedral House   Rev. Jeff Cerar and Rev. John Seebudde
Mukono Cathedral House
December 2008
 
The Rev. Jeff Cerar and the Rev. John Ssebudde and the dedication plaque at Mukono House

Bishop Paul Luzinda
Bishop Paul Luzinda
September 2008

We have pursued this partnership from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, through intercessory prayer, financial contributions, and joint ministry. Our friend Stephen has visited our congregation numerous times. Stephen brought his wife Margaret to Light of Christ in May 2007, and in August 2007, he brought his five sons, ranging in age from 13 to 22, who were touring the United States as the Living Hope Salvation Choir. In May 2006 the Rev. John Ssebudde visited, spending a week with us, and in September 2008, the Bishop of Mukono, the Rt. Rev. Elia Paul Luzinda Kizito, visited the United States, spending a portion of his time with our rector and our congregation while we were on retreat in Wakefield, Virginia.

In August 2005, Light of Christ sent a team of six, including two teenagers, to Mukono and then another team of seven, again with two teenagers, to both Mukono and Mityana in December 2008 and January 2009. During our time in Uganda, we visited schools, participated in worship, preached, taught Sunday school, visited in homes, and spoke to the Mothers’ Union, the Youth Brigade, the Boy Scouts, and the Intercessory Prayer ministry participants.


Mission Group in Uganda   Mission Group in Uganda with Rt. Rev. Kaziimba
After worship at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Mityana
January 2009
 
Youth of Mityana and Light of Christ
January 2009

Christianity in Uganda

Most Revv. Ntagali
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali

The Church Missionary Society introduced Christianity to Uganda in 1877. In 1886, there was a backlash against the Christians. The king demanded that the members of his court renounce the Christian faith. Thirty-two brave young men refused and were burned to death, singing hymns and praying for their enemies. Their martyrdom led to a great explosion of growth for Christianity in Uganda. We remember these martyrs of Uganda on June 3 in the Anglican Church calendar. Another great hero of the Anglican Church of Uganda is Archbishop Janani Luwum, who was martyred by the regime of Idi Amin in 1977, saying “I am prepared to die in the army of Jesus.” With this strong heritage of martyrdom, the Anglicans in Uganda today are deeply faithful and fiercely committed to the Gospel. Today, over 80% of Ugandans are Christians, of whom half are Anglican and half are Roman Catholic.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda is the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, who is a Spirit-filled man of towering faith. He oversees a national church of 8 million members divided into 32 dioceses. He is a leader in the movement to reclaim the historic, apostolic, Christ-centered Christian faith within the worldwide Anglican Communion.



Uganda: A Thumbnail Sketch

Map of Uganda Uganda map

Located in East Africa on the north coast of Lake Victoria, Uganda was dubbed by Winston Churchill the “Pearl of Africa.” This beautiful country is the source of the White Nile, one of the chief tributaries of the Nile River, which flows 4,000 miles north to the Mediterranean Sea. The Ruwenzori Mountains are home to the mountain gorilla, an endangered species. The tallest mountain in Uganda is about 15,000 feet. Straddling the Equator, Uganda borders on Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Congo. Mukono is about 13 miles outside Kampala on the road to Jinja. Mityana is located in the opposite direction, north and west of Kampala, about fifty two miles from Mukono. The nation’s population is approximately 25 million, of whom 1.5 million live in Kampala. Eighteen people groups make up 91% of the population. The largest tribe is Baganda, and its language, Luganda, is spoken widely, as is English, which is the official language of Uganda.

In an economy of which the most important sector is agriculture, the leading export crop is coffee. About 35% of the population was said in 2001 to be living below the poverty line. Although a large number of Ugandans live in poverty, UNICEF reports: “Over the past 15 years, Uganda has enjoyed a stable government, sustained economic growth and rapid social development. Kampala is now the modern capital of a new Uganda, a country with one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.”

The one commercial airport in Uganda is at Entebbe, which is close to Kampala and convenient to both Mukono and Mityana.

There are over 2 million orphans in Uganda, largely because of the AIDS pandemic. However, Uganda leads the way among African nations in reducing the incidence of AIDS, largely through the Anglican Church’s aggressive campaign of teaching abstinence from sex outside of marriage. Many of the households we visited included orphaned children who are cared for and educated by compassionate Christians. The literacy rate is 67%, and life expectancy is about 47 years.

The people of Light of Christ are greatly blessed to share fellowship, mission, and ministry with our Christian brothers and sisters in Uganda. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

George Becket 2010   Margaret Radcliffe
George Beckett with Bishop Stephen
September 2010
 
Margaret Radcliffe with children from St. Andrew's Cathedral
January 2009