The new Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kazimba Mugalu yesterday started his tenure in a colourful ceremony at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala and made fresh vows never to accept gay marriages in the church.
Archbishop Kaziimba said the church shall continue to emphasise heterosexual marriages as the lifelong, exclusive bond between one man and one woman for procreation as reflected in the Bible.
“…the trend in the Western world and some Anglican churches in those contexts are being pressured into doing this, including our mother church of England. But for us in Uganda, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” said the prelate shortly after receiving the episcopal authority from his predecessor Stanley Ntagali, who retired at 65 years.
While bidding farewell to the Anglican faithful of the Church of Uganda at All Saints Church Nakasero last week, Archbishop Ntagali also reiterated that the Church would not be intimidated into accepting same sex marriages.
“We cannot follow the teaching of the liberals of the West, which have told us the Bible is the book of the past and that men can marry men, and women can marry women. We are saying no to that liberal teaching ...we have said no to same sex marriage and we shall continue to say that until Jesus comes back,” Dr Ntagali said last week.
His successor Archbishop Kaziimba, on the first day of his episcopal service yesterday, said the Church has different pressures within Uganda such as polygamy, early marriages and domestic violence which undermine God’s plan for holy marriages.
“There is even incest and beastiality. These are not God’s ways. I invite people who are cohabiting to put their marriage right before God by making marriage vows and putting on wedding rings. These are not Satanic as some heretical teachers put it, they are equally God’s way,” he said.
Archbishop Kaziimba also vowed never to accept or support abortion as a method of birth control and asked the Anglican faithful to promote life rather than destroy it.
On matters of reproductive health, the prelate observed that the programmes only focus on educating and empowering the girl child but neglected the boy which has had adverse impact on them and society.
“When you visit our churches, especially in the rural areas, where are the men? The majority of people in church are women and children. As a father for four boys, I have learnt that when boys are given adequate training, mentorship and discipleship they can become responsible citizens,” he said.
He condemned the ongoing political violence and other forms of violent crime and killings in society and called for harmony as the country heads to the 2021 General Election.
“We should have a listening ear, be peace makers, forgivers and promoters of dialogue. We should have love for one another regardless of our tribe, clan, political parties or religious affiliation, especially as we approach elections,” the new archbishop said.
Archbishop Kaziimba’s enthronement was led by the Dean of the Province of the Church of Uganda Bishop, Jackson Nzerebende, of South Rwenzori Diocese and witnessed by incumbent and retired bishops, archbishops from other Anglican and non-Anglican provinces, among them, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, Justin Welby and Bishop Henry Luke Orombi, the seventh archbishop of the Anglican Church in Uganda.
Guest preacher Archbishop Foley Beach from North America described Archbishop Kaziimba’s enthronement as a historic occasion and commended the Church of Uganda for its faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“You have been a bright light for the world. You said no to disobeying the word of God, you said no to immorality, many wish their leaders would be like you...thank you for your boldness and your example,” Archbishop Beach told the congregation.
He asked Archbishop Kaziimba to show love, care and always sacrifice for the flock.
“As leaders we have to go to the people, care for them, love them, and help them. Share everything with them. We are called to be servants, do justice. My brother Stephen, this is what we are called to do...sacrificial, steadfast love. Your challenge is to remain committed to God’s promise and be steadfast,” said Archbishop Beach, who is also the chairman of the Gafcon Primates’ Council.
Buganda Kingdom Prime Minister (Katikkiro) Charles Peter Mayiga welcomed Dr Kaziimba’s enthronement and said being archbishop of Uganda is a big responsibility but added that he will fulfill it with commitment and care for people.
“Your office comes with big authority. We pray that you will use it to enhance peace and harmony,” said Mr Mayiga, who delivered Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s gift to the prelate.
President Museveni’s message
President Museveni commended former Archbishops Ntagali and Orombi for building the Church House and other infrastructure to generate income for the church.
He commended the Church of Uganda for bringing new life which requires unconditional forgiveness and love that created change in society from the traditional system which was based on vengeance.
“We should influence people by exemplary living. We opposed conflicts of people fighting on behalf of God and created the Inter-religious Council because when we have people fighting and killing others, we think it is the work of the devil,” President Museveni said.
He donated a vehicle to Archbishop Kaziimba.