Adversity and controversy are part of UCU alum’s journey to Bishop
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/04/adversity-and-controversy-are-part-of-ucu-alums-journey-to-bishop/
By Kefa Senoga
The Rt. Rev. Onesimus Asiimwe, the newly consecrated Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of North Kigezi, grew up in a home where it was mandatory to pray. In fact, he used to even take readings in church. However, at some point in his life, Asiimwe took to drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes so much so that many people lost hope in him.
However, one day, after a night of heavy drinking, Asiimwe said he heard the voice of the Lord say to him: “Onesimus, do you not know that your body is the Temple of God?”
In response, according to a statement from the Church of Uganda, Asiimwe “threw away the cigarette that was dangling between his fingers and called on Jesus for salvation.” The day was January 8, 1988.
Since that day, Asiimwe, an alum of Uganda Christian University (UCU), says he developed a passion for preaching to youth, especially those facing social challenges such as alcoholism. By the late 1990s, Asiimwe was a household name among Anglicans as miracles would be reported during his crusades.
In 1997, for example, he says he prayed for a couple that had been seeking to conceive for close to six years. The woman later conceived, and they had a child. In 1999, Asiimwe says he prayed for a man, Henry Mugisa, who regained his sight after a long time. However, Asiimwe’s type of ministry – one with “miracles” – soon ruffled feathers with some church leaders in his diocese.
Preaching at a UCU community worship in Nkoyoyo Hall on March 4, 2021, Asiimwe noted that when he had crusades in Kigezi, his home diocese located in southwestern Uganda, his ministry was considered incompatible with the traditions of the Anglican Church.
“Many times, I was summoned to explain where I was getting the power to perform miracles; we were praying for people and they were getting healed.”
Asiimwe said he was invited before a committee of 12 theologians who asked him to explain where he was deriving the power of healing. “I stood before them and confidently said I was simply following what the Bible says.”
Asiimwe was later blocked from attending prayers in the diocese. However, he later mended fences with the leaders in the diocese, and, today, miracles are part of ministry in the Anglican Church. St. Peter’s Cathedral Rugarama, where Asiimwe was, in early 2000s, blocked from attending church prayers as a punishment for conducting a ministry that was considered alien to the Anglican Church, is where he was ordained a priest in 2012.
In 2006, the archbishop at the time, Henry Luke Orombi, shocked many when he appointed Asiimwe his personal assistant, who also holds the position of chaplain of the archbishop. It was the first time that a lay person was being appointed to such a position in the Anglican Church in Uganda. However, Orombi continued to persuade Asiimwe to pursue further studies so he could get ordained. In 2009, Asiimwe, a graduate teacher from Makerere University, enrolled for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Theology at the current Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology in UCU. He later returned to UCU, where he obtained a Master of Arts in Theology.
During his consecration ceremony on March 12, 2023, at Emmanuel Cathedral Kinyansano in Rukungiri district, western Uganda, Asiimwe, who has been the chaplain of the Anglican community at Makerere University in Uganda, thanked Orombi for being “a great mentor” in his life. In his sermon at the function, Orombi noted that he groomed Asiimwe because he knew that one time, he would become a bishop. Asiimwe now replaces Patrick Tugume, who has been the caretaker bishop since the death of the former bishop, Benon Magezi, who succumbed to Covid-19 in 2021.
Asiimwe was born on April 24, 1965 in Mparo, Rukiga district, in western Uganda,
to Samwiri, and Samali Meisho. Samwiri was a lay reader in church. Asiimwe attended Kihanga Boys Primary School and later joined Kigezi High School for O’level and Makerere College
School for A’level. He obtained a Bachelor of Education from Makerere University and a Diploma in Education from the National Teachers College, Kabale. He has been married to Florence since 1993 and the couple has three children – Daudi, Ruth and Marjorie.
To support Uganda Christian University programs, students, activities and services, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button, or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at email@example.com.
The post Adversity and controversy are part of UCU alum’s journey to Bishop appeared first on Uganda Christian University Partners.