Report on Luweero Diocesan Clergy Conference

Report on Luweero Diocesan Clergy Conference

Bishop Eridard Nsubuga

Luweero Diocese comprises three political districts: Luweero, Nakasongola and Nakaseke; it has 5 archdeaconries and one deanery, with a total of 34 parishes and 50 serving clergy scattered all over the Diocese. We rarely have Clergy Conferences, since they are costly, and so it was great pleasure to us when the Uganda Church Association agreed to contribute UG shs 2,750,000 (about half the total cost) towards the Diocesan Clergy Conference held during January 2016.

The conference brought together 49 clergy from across the Diocese for fellowship, evaluation, recharging of spiritual batteries, planning, sharing of challenges and discussion of the way forward. The conference was begun by a spiritual devotion under the theme: “Revive your Church O Lord”, (Habakkuk 3:2).

Rev.Canon James Serugo drew the attention of the Clergy to several challenges of changing patterns facing their ministry. These included:

  • The population explosion – It was noted that the Clergy in the Diocese are implicated in the population explosion as most of their families include 7-8 children. Such large numbers not only contribute to the population explosion but also become a big burden for most married couples. “Clothing, feeding and education, bearing in mind that education is not free in Uganda, become a real struggle”, Canon Serugo pointed out. He cited incidents where parents have as a last resort sold off their personal property, such as their only means of transport (bicycles), in order to pay their children’s school fees.
  • Saving Culture – The Clergy were also encouraged to develop a saving culture out of their small stipend. They were encouraged to join the Diocesan Savings and Credit Scheme and to buy shares, as one of the ways of planning well in advance for their retirement. They were also encouraged to pray and support the Pension House Project whose construction is being planned: the proceeds of this will go towards their pension scheme.
  • Migration of young people to independent Churches –This is a continuing challenge witnessed by both Clergy other committed Church members.
  • The introduction of changes in our worship was discussed, with emphasis on modernizing it. Most Church of Uganda worship in central Uganda is still conducted traditionally according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Most of our young people refer to this worship as boring. We heard from clergy who have been able to introduce services that attract young people to their Churches. Training in children’s and youth ministry was also encouraged.

Following the observation that confirmation candidates in almost all parishes are predominantly young people the building of discipleship teams was regarded as vital. It was noted that Christian instruction and nurture need to continue after confirmation if the Church is to have committed members who are not swayed by every kind of cultic wind. 2 Timothy 2:2 was one of those Scriptures that were considered helpful in this regard. It was generally agreed that in light of the mushrooming cults in Uganda the issue of building a strong discipleship ministry is pertinent. Emma Nsengiunva, the Diocesan Mission Coordinator was thanked for raising this challenging concern.

Under the theme of Holistic Ministry, Mrs. Ruth Seggane, the Diocesan Women’s Co-ordinator and Family Life trainer, urged the Clergy not just to do mission the old Church of Uganda way, i.e. fulfilling the great commission. “Although you have preached wonderful sermons and made altar calls for years, many of our Christians have remained in poverty and many of them, female in particular, are still culturally marginalized”, she boldly pointed out. Clergy were challenged to engage their Christians in activities that would improve their living standards, for instance by making use of the opportunity of the vast land that most of the churches possess. In a nutshell, the Clergy were challenged to look at the world through the lenses of Christ.

The Conference was regarded as an eye opener and every one prayed for more opportunities. The idea of networking was encouraged, learning from each others’ experience through friendly visits and exchange of pulpits. It was suggested that the subject of praise and worship be included in the next Conference’s programme. A vote of thanks was made to the Uganda Church Association for the funding contribution they had made to the Conference. To God be the Glory.

Rt Revd Eridard K. Nsubuga became Bishop of Luweero in 2015.