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Church of Uganda

Church of Uganda
Primate The Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kampala
Headquarters Namirembe Hill, Kampala
Territory Uganda
Members 8,782,821 (as of 2002)
Website Church of Uganda web

The Church of the Province of Uganda (or Church of Uganda) is a member church of the Anglican Communion. Currently there are 34 dioceses which make up the Church of Uganda, each headed by a bishop.

Each diocese is divided into archdeaconries, each headed by a senior priest known as an archdeacon. The archdeaconries are further subdivided into parishes, headed by a parish priest. Parishes are subdivided into sub-parishes, headed by lay readers. As of the 2002 Census, 8,782,821 Ugandans (35.9% of the population) consider themselves affiliated with the church.[1]


The current Primate and Metropolitan Archbishop is the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali, who was enthroned in December 2012.[2] The Diocese of Kampala is the fixed episcopal see of the Archbishop, but unlike many other fixed metropolitical sees, the incumbent is not officially known as 'Archbishop of Kampala', but bears the longer title Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala.


The primary source for this section is listed in the References section below[3]

Early developments (1877 - 1897)

Shergold Smith and C. T. Wilson of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) were the first European Anglican missionaries to Uganda when they arrived in June 1877. They, along with others who arrived later, were based in the court of the Kabaka of Buganda near present day Kampala.

Kabaka Mutesa I was known for his brutality and used the rivalries of the Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Muslims against each other to try to balance the influences of the powers that backed each group. His successor, Kabaka Mwanga II, took a more aggressive approach by expelling missionaries and insisting Christian converts abandon their faith on pain of torture or death.

In 1885, three Anglican Ugandans were killed and the arriving Archbishop of the Province of Eastern Equatorial Africa, James Hannington, together with his party were arrested, detained and later executed at the orders of the Kabaka. Joseph Mukasa, a Roman Catholic priest and an official of the Bugandan court, rebuked the deed and was arrested and beheaded. This was the precursor to the large scale persecutions and killings from 1886 to 1887 of Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Those who were killed in that period are remembered as the Martyrs of Uganda.

This incident brought about the interference of Imperial British East Africa Company who backed a rebellion against Mwanga II by Christian and Muslim groups. Mwanga II was eventually overthrown in 1888 and was replaced by his half brother, Kiwewa. Kiwewa himself was overthrown by the Muslim faction in the court and was replaced by his Muslim brother, Kalema. British forces forced Kalema to abdicate and restored the throne to Mwanga II who in 1894 acceded to Uganda's status as a British protectorate. These incidences guaranteed the long term viability of the Anglican church in Uganda.

Diocese of Uganda (1897 - 1961)

Alfred Robert Tucker was made the third bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa in 1890 and in 1899, the Diocese of Uganda was created and Tucker became the first Bishop of Uganda.[4] In 1893 the first Ugandans were ordained and Buganda was established as a centre for evangelisation in the Great Lakes Area. One of the most celebrated indigenous Anglicans of that period is Apolo Kivebulaya, who is also known as the "Apostle to the Pygmies" for his work among the Pygmy people in eastern Congo.

Anglican growth in Uganda thrived by the turn of the 20th century and among the most notable contribution of the Anglican church was in the area of education. The first elementary schools were established in the 1890s. In 1913, the Bishop Tucker Theological College was established in Mukono and this institution was eventually expanded into what is now today the Uganda Christian University.[5] Likewise the CMS took a lead in public health with the establishment of the Mengo Hospital in 1897.

Tucker proposed controversial measures to the Church constitution that would grant considerable power to the indigenous Anglicans in what was known as the Native Anglican Church. These radical proposals were opposed by the missionaries which resulted in a church hierarchy that was primarily expatriate until the independence of Uganda decades later. The domination of the CMS, and its later offshoot BCMS, led to a low church tradition in the Church. Revivalism was also made a hallmark of the Church with the outbreak of the East African Revival that began in Rwanda in 1936.

In the 1950s, the emergence of a generation of Ugandan Church leaders began to replace the expatriate hierarchy. Festo Kivengere, who later became the Bishop of Kigezi in 1972, travelled to Europe as an evangelist for the first time. As an international figure he was a joint founder of African Evangelistic Enterprise.

Province of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi (1961 - 1980)

In 1961, the growth of the Church of Uganda was recognised in the Anglican Communion with the establishment of the Province of Uganda and Rwanda-Urundi (later Province of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi). The incumbent Bishop of Uganda, Leslie Brown, was the first Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province. Brown was succeeded in 1966 by the first Ugandan Archbishop, Erica Sabiti.

Relationships between the Anglicans and Roman Catholics that have been strained since the fighting of 1892 saw a new turn with the establishment of Uganda Joint Christian Council. This has included the small Orthodox Church of Uganda.

In 1971, Idi Amin gained power in a coup d'état and was initially greeted with enthusiasm by the general population of Uganda. The brutal and corrupt nature of the regime became evident soon and with the consecration of Janani Jakaliya Luwum as the new Archbishop in 1974, the Anglican Church became more outspoken in opposition to the policies of Amin. This led to the 1977 execution of the Archbishop on Amin's orders.[6]

Province of Uganda (1980 - present)

The overthrowing of Amin in 1979 saw the gradual resumption of normal life in Uganda although peace remained elusive in northern Uganda with the insurgency by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). In 1997, Winifred Ochola, the wife of the first Bishop of Kitgum was killed by a landmine. Bishop Ochola has however continued to be committed in working towards peace and reconciliation in northern Uganda[7]

In 1980, Rwanda and Burundi were elevated to a separate province. The Church of Uganda has played an active role in promoting AIDS awareness and prevention in Uganda. As a result of these efforts and others in the country, Uganda has begun reversing the effects of AIDS on her society.[8]

On 28 September 2011, the House of Bishops elected the first bishop for the new diocese of South Ankole, which was created from parts of the dioceses of Ankole and West Ankole.[9]


The primary source for this section is referred in the References section below[10]

The Right Reverend Dr Sheldon Mwesigwa[11]
The Rt Revd Nicodemus Engwalas-Okille
The Rt Revd Nathan Kyamanywa
The Right Reverend Michael Kyomya
The Rt Revd Jackson Matovu
The Most Revd Stanley Ntagali
The Rt Revd George Katwesigye
The Rt Revd John Ntegyereize
The Revd Benjamin Ojwang (Bishop-elect)
The Rt Revd Thomas Edison Irigei
The Rt Revd John Charles Odurkami
The Rt Revd Evans Mukasa Kisekka
The Rt Revd Joel Obetia
The Rt Revd Samwiri Namakhetsa Khaemba Wabulakha
The Rt Revd Stephen Kaziimba
The Rt Revd Cranmer Mugisha
The Rt Revd James Ssebaggala
The Rt Revd Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira[12]
The Rt Revd Alphonse Watho-kudi
The Rt Revd James Nasak
The Rt Revd Edward Muhima
The Rt Revd Daniel Gimadu
The Rt Revd Johnson Gakumba
The Rt Revd Benezeri Kisembo
The Rt Revd Augustine Joe Arapyona Salimo
The Rt Revd Charles Bernard Obaikol-Ebitu
The Rt Revd Nathan Ahimbisibwe
The Rt Revd Joseph Abura
The Rt Revd Jackson Nzerebende Tembo
The Rt Revd William Magambo
The Rt Revd Samuel Cephas Kamya

Anglican realignment

The Church of Uganda has been active in the Anglican realignment, both at the Global South and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. They are one of the African churches which broke communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States due to their acceptance of non-celibate homosexuality, and have agreed to provide pastoral oversight and support to new Anglican churches in North America in the ongoing Anglican realignment.

On 2 September 2007, the Ugandan church consecrated an American bishop, John Guernsey, from Virginia, to oversee many of the American parishes which it supports.[11][13] The Church of Uganda declared itself in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America, a denomination formed by American and Canadian Anglicans opposed to their national churches' actions regarding homosexuality, on 23 June 2009.[14]

Ecumenical relations

Like many other Anglican churches, the Anglican Church of Uganda is a member of the ecumenical World Council of Churches.[15] In October 2009, the Ugandan Church's leadership reacted to the Vatican's proposed creation of personal ordinariates for disaffected traditionalist Anglicans by saying that although he welcomed ecumencial dialogue and shared moral theology with the Catholic Church, the current GAFCON structures already meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of conservative Anglicans in Africa.[16]

See also


External links

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