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New Namirembe Diocese Bishop Calls for Unity :: Uganda Radionetwork

New Namirembe Diocese Bishop Calls for Unity

Guided by his chosen motto, "You did not choose me, but I chose you," he highlighted preaching the Gospels, education, development, land protection, establishing development projects, and the welfare of clergy as the key areas for the diocese.
10 Dec 2023 17:19
The newly enthroned Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, Rt Rev Moses Banja, and his wife Prof Olivia Nassaka receiving a gift from the kattikiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga

Audio 7

The newly enthroned Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, Rt Rev Moses Banja, has outlined six key areas of focus for his leadership, emphasizing unity and service.  

Guided by his chosen motto, "You did not choose me, but I chose you," he highlighted preaching the Gospels, education, development, land protection, establishing development projects, and the welfare of clergy as the key areas for the diocese.

Addressing the congregation at St. Paul’s Cathedral moments after his consecration and enthronement, he pledged to prioritize evangelization as the primary pillar of his leadership, calling for collaboration and service from both clergy and laity across all departments of the diocese.

//Cue in; “Ekisooka kwe...

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Moments earlier, Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, the outgoing Bishop, had already issued a challenge to Banja, urging him to prioritize winning souls as the new shepherd leading the oldest diocese in the Church province. It appeared that Banja swiftly embraced this call, making it his top priority.

Acknowledging the significance of unity in achieving the mission and serving the people of the diocese, the new bishop emphasized that this pivotal goal could only be realized through collective efforts. Therefore, he called upon all clergy and faithful to set aside anything that might breed division and instead move forward together under his leadership.

//Cue in; “Obuvunanyizibwa bunno... 

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Banja's election left a considerable number of dissatisfied individuals within the diocese. A section people from within the clergy and laity had initially raised concerns about irregularities in the nomination process.

However, following an inquiry conducted by an ad hoc committee appointed by the House of Bishops, it was concluded that there were no irregularities in the process.

Unlike in some other dioceses where dissenting voices have led to strong resistance, even escalating to legal battles, the situation in Namirembe stands in contrast.

Despite initial concerns, the diocese remains intact, avoiding the division and breakaway factions witnessed in places like Kumi, where internal conflicts could not be reconciled, resulting in a fractured church.

While those opposed to the new bishop's leadership in Namirembe have chosen to remain calm for now, some individuals interviewed days ago express consolation in the belief that the bishop's tenure will be relatively short-lived. Despite their concerns about the handling of the nomination process, they acknowledge the need to move forward.

However, a member of the diocese, who preferred anonymity, shared during an interview, "The only problem is that if there are undesirable actions during his term, as we fear, some consequences might be irreversible."

The newly elected bishop is currently 59 years old, implying that Namirembe Diocese will initiate the search for another bishop in five years when the current bishop reaches the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Church of Uganda Archbishop Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu did not shy away from addressing the prominent issue, albeit indirectly. While choosing not to explicitly discuss the situation, he made indirect remarks, acknowledging that accusations sometimes circulate, accusing the House of Bishops and the archbishop of interference in the nomination process.

Archbishop Kaziimba clarified that such claims are untrue, emphasizing that synod members nominate the names, and neither he nor the other bishops have a role in the selection process.

//Cue in; “Enkiiko zamwe... 

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Meanwhile, the new bishop also emphasized that his ministry would continue the legacy of his predecessors, from Rt. Rev. Leslies Brown to Kityo Luwalira. Speaking to the church, he expressed deep appreciation for the lessons learned from the dedication of past leaders in the diocese.

In his pursuit of a self-sustaining diocese, he outlined plans to champion the establishment of various projects, leveraging the abundant resources within Namirembe, known as the mother diocese in Uganda.

He stated, "We will encourage, to the best of our efforts, the implementation of projects in all parishes that can sustain ministry at all levels of the diocese," cautioning clergy at the archdeaconry and parish levels to begin preparing for these initiatives.

The new bishop emphasized that they would welcome all partners but issued a warning that those potentially diverting the church from its primary mission would not be accepted.

Assuming leadership amid ongoing land struggles within the diocese, the bishop acknowledged the challenges of protecting valuable properties and land from encroachment and misuse by both clergy and laity. He stressed the importance of preserving all church property, urging archdeacons, priests, lay leaders, and Christians to be responsible stewards of these resources.

In his initial days, the bishop expressed plans to collaborate with legal advisors of the diocese. The goal is to explore mechanisms, establish systems, and implement processes that ensure optimal utilization of resources while curbing land grabbing. The congregation warmly welcomed this initiative, expressing their approval through a round of applause.

//Cue in; “Nsaba baSsabadinkoni...

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The new bishop also emphasized the prioritization of clergy welfare, ensuring that pastors are well taken care of to fulfill their duties with dedication. To support this commitment, he announced plans for the construction of vicarages, a modern bishop’s residence, and a guest house. Additionally, he pledged to establish a dedicated department focusing on the mentorship and welfare of the clergy.

Highlighting education as another key pillar of his mission, the bishop expressed the aim to empower chaplaincies. These chaplaincies play a vital role in nurturing the spiritual well-being and moral development of children. The goal is to address vices such as drug abuse and homosexuality that pose challenges to schools, including those founded by the church.

The event attracted various dignitaries, encompassing political, cultural, and civil leaders. 

Notably, the influence of the Buganda kingdom was evident, with a substantial delegation led by members of the royal family. Nnalinya Lubuga Dr Catherine Agnes Nabaloga, Nabagereka Sylvia Naginda, and Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga were among the prominent figures leading the Buganda kingdom's representation.

Nnalinya Lubuga Catherine Agnes Nabaloga read the Kabaka’s speech, extending congratulations to the new bishop. In the message, the Kabaka acknowledged the significant legacy left by the bishop's predecessor, presenting it as both a mark of distinction and a challenge for the incoming bishop. Kabaka urged the new bishop to assume the mantle with courage, driving the diocese to new heights.

  //Cue in; “Tusaba omwoyo omutukuvu...

Cue out...nobwegendereza.”//

Charles Peter Mayiga, the Katikkiro, took the opportunity to remind the new bishop of the longstanding and positive relationship between Buganda, the Church of Uganda, and Namirembe Diocese in particular.

Acknowledging the historical ties, he pledged the continued collaboration of the kingdom with the church, particularly in promoting the socio-economic and other physical needs of the faithful.

//Cue in; “I therefore affirm... 

Cue out...our work easier.”//

In a message delivered by Vice President Jessica Alupo, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni extended congratulations to the newly enthroned bishop. He expressed gratitude to the church for being a valuable partner with the state in enhancing the well-being and living standards of citizens through various programs.

President Museveni urged church leaders to continue in this collaborative direction, emphasizing the importance of not solely focusing on evangelization. He added that fulfilling the word of God requires active participation of the faithful in programs that address common problems affecting their well-being.

  //Cue in; “I urge you... 

Cue out... their well-being.”//

At the end of the service, the Vice President presented a brand new car to the new bishop, a gift from the President.

This practice has become a tradition, where every newly installed religious leader at the level of bishop receives a new car as a gift from the President.