Masindi-Kitara Diocese: 10 Years On
Masindi-Kitara Diocese is celebrating ten years of her existence as a diocese. At diocesan level the celebration was scheduled for 21 December 2014, but in parishes celebrations were held in November. The diocese was carved out from Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese on 19 December 2004 and her first diocesan bishop, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, is now the eighth archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda. I succeeded him as the second bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese on 25 November 2012. At the time of transition, I was the Archdeacon of Masindi and Coordinator of the new diocese and when the diocese was inaugurated, I was the first Diocesan Secretary and served with Stanley for about three years before going to the UK for an MA programme.
It is interesting to note that three of the four current office bearers of the Uganda Church Association were my tutors at the then Bishop Tucker Theological College, now Uganda Christian University, Mukono. The Chairperson, Revd Amos Kasibante, taught Contemporary Theology, Revd Dr Michael Hunter was our Chaplain and Old Testament Tutor while Revd Dr Kevin Ward, taught me General Church History and also supervised me at diploma level in research on the Eastern Revival Movement.
On the day of my consecration I emphasized three main areas of concern:
Missions, discipleship and Christian witness: here I asserted that evangelism and discipleship are core areas of the church’s ministry. The way many Christians live their lives during the week at their various places of work and in their families leaves much to be desired. Under this heading I also sounded a call to all religious leaders to take a lead in being accountable and transparent in using the resources of God, thereby challenging all Christians to do likewise.
Developmental projects: my desire is to embark on five major developmental projects, namely: a new cathedral, the bishop’s residence, the diocesan office, a guest house, and a tree planting project. The cathedral construction is a great challenge; the current church building was set up for the local congregation, it was later elevated to parish level, archdeaconry level and eventually cathedral for the diocese, without increasing in size! The challenge is that the giving in this diocese is not good; there have been many seminars on stewardship with little by way of results and the income level of our people is not high. The guest house would be a viable project to generate financial resources for the diocese given that many tourists pass through Masindi going to Murchison Falls National Park, and now with the discovery of oil in Buliisa we expect many people travelling to and from the oil area to need accommodation.
Education and training: we would like to promote formal education and other training in the diocese. We would like to improve on the academic performance of our church institutions by working together with the Ministry of Education and Sports. I have encouraged clergy to go for further training to meet today’s challenges.
It is always my joy during my pastoral and confirmation tours to preach to various congregations and to see both youth and older men and women accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour, although my question has always been, ‘How many of these people keep on?’ This year so far 1200 have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour; the terminology used here indicates that they have become members of the ‘East African Revival’. This year I have confirmed so far 2700, a number which is lower than that of last year – two parishes remain before I complete my tours. The highest number I have confirmed in one parish was 150.
We were blessed to have a wonderful diocesan women’s conference which drew together about 350 ladies, and the main speaker was Maama Faith Kityo Luwalira. It brought together members of the Mothers’ Union and members of the Christian Women’s Fellowship. It was a joy to see these two groups meet together because in some places they do not want to mix. However, in this diocese we are happy that they work together even in celebrating St Mary’s day and Mary Magdalene’s day and participating in training events.
The Rt Revd George Kasangaki is Bishop of Masindi-Kitara.