Bishops gather in Ntungamo to pray for the country and the church

At least 75 active and retired Bishops and their consorts from Anglican Dioceses in Western Uganda gathered at South Ankole Diocese in Ntungamo Municipality for a four-day retreat to discuss religious and national issues.

The Bishops who arrived at the home of Ankole South Diocese, Bishop Rt Rev Nathan Ahimbisibwe on Wednesday evening, will spend days in meetings, visitation, prayer and critical discussion in a community at Ankole Resort Hotel.

The retreat coordinator, Bishop Emeritus of West Ankole Diocese, Rt Rev William Magambo said Monitor that their fellowship is about “creating hope beyond sorrow”.

“This is derived from the biblical book of Lamentations where Jeremiah encouraged exiled Israelites enslaved in Babylon to work and raise families when the Israelites thought they would be there for a short time,” he explained. November 16.

The biblical writings show that they were delivered from slavery after 70 years.

Meanwhile, the communion of bishops began in 1977 after the death of Archbishop Janan Luwum ​​who was reportedly killed by the state under President Id Amin for criticizing the government.

Bishops Bamunoba of West Ankole, John Betungura of Ankole, William Rukirande of Kigezi and Yestus Ruhindi of North Kigezi gathered with their wives on an island in Lake Nyabihoko in Ntungamo District where they fasted and prayed against the excesses of the government in 1977,

Only two of them, Bishops Bamunoba and Rukirande, are still alive as of November 17.

Now, the Bishop of North Ankole Diocese, Steven Namanya, said the latest scholarship will not only focus on church development but also challenges similar to those of the Amin regime.

“There are many challenges today. When we meet, we analyze the things that affect the church and the social life of people,” said Bishop Namanya, who was also among the FRONASA soldiers among those who ousted the Amin government in 1979.

For Bishop Rukirande, his prayer is “the success of the church and that the prelates never be diverted from the truth and the canons of the church.”

Host Bishop Rt Rev Ahimbisibwe said their gathering was disrupted by Covid-19 when they last met in North Ankole Diocese in 2019.

“At our meeting, we will discuss the recovery and development of the church after Covid-19, which will have a direct impact on people,” he noted.

During the convention, participating bishops from 14 dioceses will have a fully closed two-day session followed by a guided tour of major church projects being implemented by the Diocese of South Ankole.

They will also visit people helping with the development of the church before concluding their meeting on Sunday with an early morning church service at St. Mathew’s Cathedral in Kyamate, Ntungamo district.

The bishops present at the event come from 14 dioceses of: Muhabura, Kigezi, Kinkizi, North Kigezi, South Ankole, Ankole, North Ankole, West Ankole, North West Ankole, South Rwenzori, Rwenzori, East Rwenzori, Masindi-Kitara and Bunyoro Kitara.

Martha J. Finley