THE presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the installation of the new Primate of Uganda represented the Ugandan Church’s appreciation of British missionaries and “the historic roots of his office”.
This was the clarification provided in a press release issued by the Church on Sunday. “The Archbishop of Canterbury has no authority over the Church of Uganda and his presence was not required for a new Archbishop of Uganda to be installed,” the release said, while openly acknowledging tensions with Canterbury.
“The Church of Uganda is, in fact, concerned about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s support for homosexuality and same-sex unions. He has consecrated a gay Bishop in England, invited gay and lesbian Bishops to the upcoming Lambeth Conference, and promotes the recognition of same-sex unions in the Church, schools, and society. These are some of the differences he alluded to in his greetings. For these reasons, the Church of Uganda House of Bishops will not be attending the Lambeth Conference.
“Nevertheless, the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury represented the appreciation the Church of Uganda has for the British missionaries who first brought the gospel to Uganda, and the respect the Church has for the historic roots of his office.”
Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, previously the Bishop of Mityana, was installed in St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, on Sunday, succeeding the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali. Archbishop Welby was among 3000 people present at the installation, having arrived in the country the previous Thursday.
CATHERINE OGLEDean Ogle (third from left) with the Dean of Namirembe, the Very Revd Benon Kityo, and the Assistant Vicar, Keziah, on the hill-top cathedral campus at Namirembe
In a message on Twitter on Monday, Archbishop Welby wrote: “The Church of Uganda is a growing church that is transforming lives with the hope and love of Christ.” It had been “a joy” to attend the installation, and “good to spend time with Archbishop Stephen and Archbishop Stanley, praying and talking honestly about the challenges of communion and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in our different contexts”.
Dr Kaziimba was awarded both his Master’s degree in divinity and doctorate in ministry from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, in the United States. In his charge on Sunday, he referred to Lambeth Resolution 1:10, which “captured the Bible’s teaching very well. . . Bishops must uphold faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in life-long union. . . It also rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.” The Resolution ruled out the Church’s ever supporting or blessing same-sex marriage, he said.
“This is a trend in the Western world and some Anglican churches in those contexts are being pressurised into this, including our Mother Church of England. But for us in Uganda, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” His remarks were greeted with cheers and applause.
The preacher was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Revd Foley Beach, who chairs the GAFCON Primates’ Council. “You have many opportunities to deviate from the course which God has called you to run,” he said. “You will have many chances to set aside God’s word. You will have good and godly people tempt you to get off track.”
CHRIS DOBSONArchbishop Welby with the new Primate, Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu (centre), and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali (right)
Last Friday, Archbishop Welby was hosted by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. The Archbishop paid tribute to Uganda’s record of hosting many refugees from South Sudan.
“During my first visit in 1974, Uganda was characterised by gunshots, but the situation today is the reverse,” he said, the Daily Monitor reported. “I see the miracle of civility and development in Uganda.”
On Saturday, he visited the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine, which commemorates the Anglican and Roman Catholic men executed on the orders of King Mwanga between 1885 and 1887 for their refusal to denounce their Christian faith.
When the Lambeth Conference takes place in July, Dr Kaziimba will be one of several absent Primates. His predecessor did not attend the Primates’ Meeting in January (News, 17 January), having walked out of the meeting in 2016, when he said that he was “being manipulated into participating in a long meeting with the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada without the necessary discipline being upheld” (News, 22 January 2016).