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Anglican Church Investigates Misuse of Liturgical Attires

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It has become a trend for clerics, especially from Pentecostal churches (born again) to wear Anglican liturgical vestments for Bishops and the Archbishop. The latest incident was when Dr. Joseph Sserwadda, the head of Ndeeba Victory Church, and Pastor Nathan Ibrahim Turyamureeba appeared dressed like Anglicans during a consecration event.
Pastor Joseph Sserwadda, consecreting another pastor in Anglican church vestments. Courtesy photo.

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The Church of Uganda has set up a committee to investigate the misuse of the church liturgical vestments (official attire) by clerics from different denominations, the Archbishop Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has revealed. 

He was responding to concerns raised by Ronald Musoke, the chancellor of Mukono diocese on Monday who sought advice on what should be done to clerics from other denominations donning the Church of Uganda vestments (garment). 

Kaziimba was meeting priests within the Mukono diocese at their headquarters. It has become a trend for clerics, especially from Pentecostal churches (born again) to wear Anglican liturgical vestments for Bishops and the Archbishop. The latest incident was when  Dr. Joseph Sserwadda, the head of Ndeeba Victory Church, and Pastor Nathan Ibrahim Turyamureeba appeared dressed like Anglicans during a consecration event. 

The two drew strong criticism on social media for wearing the Anglican vestments as well as rings. Although Kaziimba did not give many details in his response, he noted that there is a committee headed by Rev. Prof. Alfred Olwa investigating the misuse of the Church of Uganda liturgical vestments and other related church properties such as music.

He noted that much as the committee will not work in public, the church is much concerned about the misuse of its official vestments. Kaziimba revealed that the committee has already reached out to some of the people involved in the misuse of church vestments so as to bring the matter to a conclusion.

Bishop James William Ssebaggala of Mukono diocese appealed to other religious denominations and cult heads to respect the Anglican vestments since they symbolize order, office, and role of the function, arguing there are established professional steps one goes through before putting them on. 

He wondered why various leaders in Pentecostal churches are putting them on the vestments without going through the necessary procedures.

//Cue in: “Kakati ensonga ezo... 

Cue out: ...ssigwe weronda,”//

Pastor Sserwadda could be reached for comment as he neither picked up nor returned calls from our reporter on his known mobile phone number. According to the Anglican church setting, the white over-garment cassock-alb or surplice signifies the righteousness of Jesus and the white robe means humbleness whereas the black garment cassock is not technically a vestment but just the priest’s casual wear. 

An alb simply means a white vestment reaching the feet. There is a Eucharistic vesture designed in two formats chasuble and dalmatic. A chasuble is a large piece of material cut round or in a diamond shape with an opening in the middle and is usually worn during Eucharistic services while a dalmatic garment slightly changes with an addition of a white alb.

Anglican religious leaders also use scarves, one known as a stole depending on the order and level of office. For instance, the priest’s stole hangs vertically while the deacons diagonally. During non-eucharistic ministries, they put on tippet scarves. And lastly, there is a belt or cinctures for a cassock, which are also designed in-band or rope styles. The color of the vestment changes depending on the church year.