New Diocese, New Bishop

Over fifteen of our former colleagues and students from our time at Bishop Tucker Theological College have become Bishops but we had never been able to attend an enthronement.  This was to change when, staying in Hoima in October, we were invited to join the Bunyoro-Kitara delegation going to the inauguration of the new Diocese of West Lango and the consecration of the first Bishop, Alfred Acur Okodi.

Travelling on well-maintained murram roads and good tar we arrived in Lira for a joyful meeting and lunch with the Bishop-elect and his wife.  Moving on to Boroboro, the headquarters of Lango diocese, we had a great surprise; it was the lunch rendezvous for all the visiting Bishops.  This meant that we were able to meet up with many we had not seen for twenty-five years and whom we would not otherwise have seen.  What bystanders thought of these two bazungu hugging bishops left, right and centre I’m not sure!

Going on to the new diocesan headquarters at Aduku we were met with a scene of frantic activity. Workers were still painting the outside of the cathedral buildings. It seemed every available male was working to erect the gazebo-like coverings around the edge of the area – structures with pointed tops that reminded me of a tent from the middle ages.  Groups were being briefed about their role the next day.  The stage was still being constructed.  A man from the Uganda Electricity Board was up a pole connecting the Bishop’s Residence to the grid; inside the house a whole team of ladies were about to begin cleaning while others were cooking and preparing decorations.

So many people came to the event that there was literally no room at the inn in Lira and my group had to travel to Apac to a guest house for the night.

The next day the scene was transformed, people having worked throughout the night.  A preaching pulpit with roof had been built; sound technicians had been everywhere; swags of material and flowers beautified the tents and stage.  Thousands of chairs had been put in place and all was set.

Security was chaotic but in place (our cameras were not allowed in but smart phones – with powerful built-in cameras – were!).  Estimates were that 7,000-10,000 attended.  The five hours began with much pomp and some fantastic singing and morphed into much more flexible sharing and greeting. The preaching was good, the President did not go on too long and the atmosphere was joyful.  The Bishop-elect gave a charge with realistic goals. It was a colourful, powerful Ugandan occasion at its best and was indeed a day not to be missed.

Linda Hunter