The Church of Uganda Provincial Assembly comprising of the House of Bishops, Clergies and Laity is discussing passionate matters aimed at leading the church to a proper direction.
Each house is given time to deliberate on the matters separately so as to arrive at various informed aspects of view before a joint resolution.
Among the matters presented to the houses for discussion include, reclaiming of the bodies of Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau UPMB and also Send a Cow Project Uganda.
During the Wednesday evening opening speech by the Archbishop Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, while the government understands that UPMB is a health department of the CoU, structurally the body treats itself as a Non-Government Organization separate from the church.
“Apparently, the leadership of UPMB has taken it as an NGO and is not recognizing the ownership of the CoU. Efforts have been made by the Provincial Assembly standing Committee and the Provincial secretariat to realign it but have not yielded any result because some individuals within it think it is not for the Protestant CoU. The assembly should advise on how to redeem UPMB like we redeemed Mengo.” Dr. Kaziimba noted.
In 1957 the eight missionary hospitals that were handed over by the British to the Anglican Church came together and formed UPMB. Later under UPMB was incorporated the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Ishaka to make nine hospitals and the two faiths have been moving together. Currently, out of the 305 health facilities registered by UPMB, 208 belong to CoU.
The assembly also has to resolve the operations of the current leadership of Send a Cow Project Uganda. This was founded in 1988 by the late Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo as an NGO in collaboration with friends in the UK to alleviate poverty and hunger in the country.
However, Archbishop Kaziimba says with no good reasons, the organization leadership left the church but the current leadership requested to return besides requesting him to be their patron.
In the past years the church has been entangled in various land wrangles which has led to loss of substantial acres of land and properties due to sheer greed and negligence.
Dioceses of Namirembe and Mukono manage their land directly, however, the Archbishop Kaziimba says all church land should be held in trust by the Registered Trustees of the CoU as the legal entity.
“Issues of breaking up worship places like the Ndeeba church scandal will forever be etched in our minds and indeed it revealed that something is wrong somewhere and we must act to rectify it. Otherwise we may continue to lose land and other valuable assets if as dioceses we continue to disregard our own constitutions and canons. How do we protect land? By having it titled and registered appropriately.” Dr. Kaziimba notes.
To further resolve the matter, the assembly is encouraging all dioceses to have in place uniform constitutions aligned with the provincial constitution and canons approved by this assembly.
The provincial standing committee together with the diocesan chancellors (lawyers) worked on the template to guide drafting of the new diocesan constitutions.
“I would like to appeal to you delegates to make sure your diocese has an approved constitution by this assembly in order to reduce and possibly eliminate issues that have plagued CoU in the past on leadership, transition, faith and order, and land wrangles.”
The Provincial Secretary, Canon Captain William Ongeng says the church is focused at handling and resolving very critical matters well thought of under the guidance of the Archbishop to holistically take the church of Christ forward.
The assembly ending tomorrow is also expected to deliberate on how to revamp the performance of the church academic institutions, protection of church monuments and historical sites in dioceses, reviewing of ministerial formations ecclesiastical disorder in various dioceses.
For example, the scandal at Kumi diocese where the House of Bishops revoked the election of Rev. Charles Oode Okunya due to moral integrity and instead sued the Archbishop and the entire House of Bishops.
Prior to Rev. Oode, also Rev. Canon Sam Lubogo in Busoga diocese left the church to pursue a cultic expedition. Though he later repented and returned to the church with all his regalia and the said bishops in the cult.