UGANDA: “RECONCILIATION AND RESTORATION” TAKE CENTER STAGE IN NEW ANGLICAN BISHOP’S CHARGE

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Bishop Wilson Kitara receiving cash donation from Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda

“Generally, my thoughts and dreams of how to navigate the Diocese of Kitgum out of development challenges on assumption of office shall be premised on considerations and actions to reconcile and restore the functioning and purposive inspirations throughout the diocese, integrity of the clergy throughout the diocese, repentance and reconciliation across the diocese, re-evangelization throughout the diocese, among others”

“As the in-coming Bishop, I encourage everyone living in the Diocese of Kitgum to forgive one another and we begin a new chapter, new walk of life that is focused on the principle of ‘Love’ as summarized in the two greatest commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ in Mathew 22:37-40”.

KITGUM-UGANDA: On Sunday, November 25, 2018, Right Reverend Wilson Kitara was enthroned as the third bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kitgum, during which occasion, he read out his charge highlighting ‘reconciliation and restoration’ of sanity among his flock in his hitherto divided diocese.

“Generally, my thoughts and dreams of how to navigate the Diocese of Kitgum out of development challenges on assumption of office shall be premised on considerations and actions to reconcile and restore the functioning and purposive inspirations throughout the diocese, integrity of the clergy throughout the diocese, repentance and reconciliation across the diocese, re-evangelization throughout the diocese, among others”, reads part of the bishop’s charge statement.  

The Diocese of Kitgum was curved out of the Diocese of Northern Uganda and its first bishop, Rt. Rev. Macleod Baker Ocholla II was enthroned on May 21, 1995. It was established in the middle of the near two decades of civil war which plagued the Diocese between 1986 and 2006.

Its second bishop, Rt. Rev. Benjamin Ojwang was even abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in early 2000s and spent more than a week in captivity before he was released by the rebels.

After his release from LRA captivity, a section of his flocks alleged that Bishop Ojwang allowed a religious cult to perform rituals on him after his release as a way to cleanse him.

This led them to rebel against him, a revolt which eventually forced the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, to force Bishop Ojwang to early retirement, leaving the diocese without a substantive bishop to replace Bishop Ojwang.

Mid this year, Bishop Ojwang came to Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) office in Gulu where he preached ‘forgiveness’ to all those who had fought him as bishop and urged the Christians to ‘reconcile’ with one another in order to develop the Diocese of Kitgum.

“The above challenges have impacted adversely on Christian households’ food security and income generation capacity and ability to meet their obligations to support the church for sustained growth and development….. Others are spiritual and moral decadence, especially among youths, lack of gainful employment, drunkenness, smoking and drug abuse, immorality and promiscuity and other unbecoming behaviors”, says the charge statement in parts.

At the height of the disagreements which enslaved the reign of Bishop Benjamin Ojwang, Rev. Wilson Kitara was serving as the Diocesan Secretary of the diocese and headteacher of Rev. Jabuloni Isoke Memorial secondary school, just at the seat of the diocese. His deeper understanding of the conflict as well as proposed solutions is what part of what endeared him to the diocesan synod in the course of searching for the next bishop.  

Bishop Kitara says the core fundamental of his Episcopal Ministry is on transformation derived from Apostle Paul is his letter to the second Corinthians, chapter five verse seventeen: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come’.

“As the in-coming Bishop, I encourage everyone living in the Diocese of Kitgum to forgive one another and we begin a new chapter, new walk of life that is focused on the principle of ‘Love’ as summarized in the two greatest commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ in Mathew 22:37-40”, says Bishop Kitara.

Bishop Kitara says he will not deviate from the Province of the Church of Uganda vision of ‘a faster growing sustainable Christ-centered Church’ and mission ‘to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations’.

“The diocese shall get involved in interventions intended to nourish the bodies of members of congregations directly or indirectly and generate income through involvement in activities of grass root projects of their choices that do not harm the environment”, Bishop Kitara says.

Bishop Kitara called on the donor communities and other development partners, local or international to join him in developing the diocese unconditionally.

“We shall deliver what the development partners expect of the diocese; accountability, positive impact of programs they support. In return, we in the diocese shall expect consolidation of partnerships, respect of Kitgum Diocese’s core values, and unconditional support to the diocesan programs”.  

Bishop Kitara was born in 1971 in present day Pader district and is married to Ketty Auma Kitara with whom he has three children. He studied theology and holds a Master’s degree in Theology from Uganda Christian University, Mukono.

The diocese has 9 archdeaconries, 40 parishes and 350 church congregations spread across four districts of Agago, Pader, Lamwo and Kitgum.

General Yoweri Museveni offered a brand new car and cash donation of 30 million Uganda shillings (about US$8,300 dollars) to the new bishop.

 

 

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