Late archbishop nephew accentuates UCU Sunday at St. Stephens Nsambya
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/10/late-archbishop-nephew-accentuates-ucu-sunday-at-st-stephens-nsambya/
By Anitah Mahoro
The House of Bishops from the Church of Uganda birthed the last Sunday of September as “UCU Sunday” three years ago to recognize Uganda Christian University (UCU) and its contribution to education and morality.
I was honored to journey and celebrate the event at St Stephen’s Nsambya, an Anglican Church in the heart of Nsambya Barracks in Kampala. Prior to my journey, Walter Apunyo, ordinand of the church diligently gave me directions. In the early hours of dawn, I set off from the southeastern Butabika area of Uganda’s capital city. As is common to Sunday mornings and unlike other mornings of the week in Kampala, the road was clear and streets deserted.
I arrived at the church at a quarter past 8 o’clock. As I left the car, a cool breeze engulfed me almost as simultaneously as the sounds from children around the church. Careful not to trample on them, I made my way to the church entrance and found it filled to its 700-seat capacity. Walter greeted me warmly and informed me that I was just in time for the second of five services in five different mother tongue languages of the day. This service was in English.
As Walter and I spoke, we made our way to a corner office where I was introduced to the church Vicar, Reverend James Luwum. Enthusiastic in nature, Rev. Luwum is the nephew to the late Janani Luwum who was the second African archbishop of the Church of Uganda; he held office between the years 1974 to 1977. The Late Janani Luwum is an instrumental figure in the modern African church due to his sacrifice, activism and relentless faith. He is celebrated with a landmark in his honour and a respected holiday that falls on the 16th of February every year.
Once seated in the church, I observed the ceiling, high and triangular, was covered in silver iron sheets and supported by wooden planks. Following a Prayer of Purity, the choir sang a hymn.
Through a prayer, Walter referenced the Bible making it known that, “If we say we have no sin, we make him (Christ) a liar.” These words seem neglected in an age where we are quick to make ourselves the victims of the cruelties around us without assuming our lion’s share in kind. After this brief message, he asked us to greet our neighbours and welcome them to the service. I turned to my right and embraced a gentleman who embodied the idiom, “Full of the joys of spring.”
Walter informed the congregation that he is currently enrolled at UCU as a Master’s student pursuing a degree in Divinity. Auma Prisca, another ordinand, came to the pedestal and started the third part of the segment with a song, “Bamuyita yesu,” translated in English to mean “they call him Lord.”
The Vicar, Reverend Luwum, delivered the sermon. He started his message with the proclamation of thanksgiving. He expressed appreciation for the contributions made by the congregation through tithes and offerings and went on to talk about UCU, its partners and its hearty support to the community. The Reverend’s voice rang loud as he recounted testimonies from parents who were pleasantly surprised with the behaviour and grades of the children they had sent to UCU. One father, he recounted, had sold 47 heads of cattle in order to educate his child and was overwhelmed with tears when he saw his son leading community hour praise and worship at UCU.
Reverend Luwum concluded his doctrine by urging the congregation to always remember the Lord, support the University and align themselves with part of UCU’s philosophy of “A complete education for a Godly legacy.”
After sharing breakfast with Walter and Church leaders, I remembered a scripture from the Book of Philippians 4:6-7 that was delivered by Grace Aneno Mary, an ordinand at the Church. The words re-echoed, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This verse aligned itself with the message in a hymn that was sung by Reverend Ester, Assistant Vicar in the Church. The message of the hymn is “We are Christians.” From this, we learn that in all things – good, bad, worldly or unworldly – we have a refuge as followers of Christ.