Rt. Rev. Moses Banja was consecrated and enthroned as the sixth bishop of Namirembe Diocese. Banja replaced Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, who reached the mandatory retirement age.
The celebrations on Sunday kicked off with the rhythmic beats of ceremonial drumming, announcing the impending commencement of the service.
A procession into the crowded St Paul’s Cathedral ensued, and later West Buganda Diocesan Bishop Henry Katumba Tamale led the service setting the tone for the day’s festivities.
At 10:43 am, the eagerly anticipated consecration ceremony began, with the legal proceedings led by the Church of Uganda Provincial Secretary, Canon Captain William Onen.
The Diocesan Secretary, Ven. Canon Henry Sagawa presented the minutes of the Diocesan Synod, where Bishop Luwalira expressed his intention to retire.
Diocesan Chancellor Frederick Joshua Mpanga followed, reading the minutes of the nomination committee that proposed two candidates for the highest office.
After signing and authenticating the documents, the Provincial Secretary read the minutes of the House of Bishops, confirming Moses Banja as the newly elected chief shepherd of Namirembe Diocese.
Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu in turn, affirmed and signed the appointment.
Caretaker Bishop James William Ssebagala of Luweero Diocese and Onzelle of Nebbi Diocese nominated Banja to Archbishop Kaziimba Mugaru for the formal acknowledgment and consecration as bishop, by Canon Law.
Seated on his throne, the Archbishop accepted the nomination, and Banja, in a solemn moment, took three oaths and appended his signature.
By 11:00 am, Archbishop Kaziimba-Mugalu initiated the ritual of examining the new bishop.
Seated in his chair of authority, the archbishop meticulously examined the bishop-elect, ensuring that he would conduct himself appropriately in the Church of God.
Following this scrutiny, Banja was led to the vestry to robe in his bishop’s attire, symbolizing the official commencement of his role as the sixth bishop of Namirembe Diocese.
Upon his return, the Archbishop officially consecrated him and introduced Moses Banja to the congregation as the new bishop of Namirembe, greeted with enthusiasm and celebration from the attendees.
Bishop Luwalira, in a ceremonial gesture, handed over the instruments of power, including pastoral tools, to the Archbishop.
Reflecting on the passing of time, he began his speech by acknowledging the moment 14 years and 15 months prior when he was consecrated as bishop in the same church.
Expressing gratitude, he thanked the Lord for choosing him to lead the diocese.
He extended his appreciation to fellow bishops, clergy, and the faithful for their collaboration and support throughout the years. In acknowledging their accomplishments, he attributed all glory to God.
Turning his attention to the new bishop, Bishop Luwalira committed to daily prayers for him.
He encouraged the successor to preach, convince, and convert new souls. He also called upon the clergy and the faithful to collaborate with and support the new bishop in his ministry.
Subsequently, the Archbishop transferred the pastoral items to the new bishop and guided him to assume the seat of authority, officially enthroning him as the Bishop of Namirembe Diocese.
The occasion was met with enthusiasm, marked by lively applause and joyous celebration from the congregation.
Before the consecration rituals, Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe of South Ankole Diocese, serving as the day’s preacher and having spiritually guided the bishop-elect, delivered a sermon, shedding light on the responsibilities awaiting Moses Banja.
In a thought-provoking message, he humorously remarked that while the faithful traditionally address the bishop as “my lord bishop,” he playfully interpreted it as “my lord bishop,” emphasizing that at times, the congregation might perceive the bishop as a burden.
This lighthearted moment served as a reminder for the newly elected bishop not to become a burden to his flock.
Bishop Ahimbisibwe stressed the importance for Banja to recognize that he comes with a vision for a specific purpose in this particular season.
Reflecting on the legacies of those who preceded him, the preacher highlighted that each bishop had a vision and a season, fulfilling their roles and passing the mantle to the next in line.
He compared leadership to a cake, emphasizing that resources are needed to share with those under his care.
To drive home this point, the preacher presented a cake, amusing the congregation, and later brought forth a stone carried on his head to symbolize the burdens of leadership.
The bishop-elect was encouraged not only to focus on sharing the “cake” but also to carry the “stone” – acknowledging the weight of leadership responsibilities.
Bishop Ahimbisibwe advised Banja not to shoulder the burden alone. Instead, he urged the bishop to share power with clergy and lay members, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts for the greater good of the church.
However, the preacher also issued a cautionary note, advising the bishop to be vigilant about individuals who may appear supportive on the surface but, behind the scenes, work against the leadership’s interests.
This insightful guidance underscored the challenges and complexities that can arise in the journey of leadership within the church.
Moses Banja secured the position of Bishop through the House of Bishops’ election at St. Stephen’s Cathedral Naluwerere in East Busoga Diocese.
His appointment came as a replacement for Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, who had led Namirembe Diocese for the past 15 years since his consecration as the 5th Bishop in May 2009.
Before his election, there were complaints from some members of the diocese regarding alleged irregularities in his nomination.
To address these concerns, a committee was formed by the House of Bishops to investigate the allegations.
The committee conducted a thorough examination and concluded that no irregularities were found in the nomination process.
Brief Biography Moses Banja, born on October 20, 1964, in Nakabugo Bbira, Busiro, embraced Christianity and received Jesus Christ as his Savior on December 3, 1989.
He entered the ministry, being ordained in 1996, and later became a priest in 1998.
His marital partner is Rev. Canon Prof. Olivia Nassaka Banja, the current Vice Chancellor of Ndejje University, and they are blessed with three children.
Banja holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Divinity from Makerere University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the same institution. Before his election to the episcopal role, he served as the Archdeacon of Luzira Archdeaconry.