By Chris Sugden, Church of England Newspaper
BISHOP Stanley Ntagali was installed as the eighth archbishop of the Church of Uganda in Namirembe Cathedral, Kampala on December 16th.
During the service outgoing Archbishop Henry Orombi signed a certificate of abdication and formally handed over the primatial cross, “which had become too heavy to bear” to Archbishop-elect Ntagali. Bishop Orombi, as he wants to be known, then spoke words of thanks and encouragement to his successor. Observers noted that a point might be being made to President Museveni who attended part of the service, who at 72 had had the constitutional provision for a limit to his term changed.
President Museveni urged the new archbishop to focus on young people, as 70 per cent of Uganda’s population are under 30. He noted that though the incidence of AIDS had initially dramatically declined since 1986 due to the Abstain, Be Faithful and use a Condom campaign, it was now on the rise. He urged the church to “use the pulpit to save our children”. He urged that sexual behaviour should be private and confidential, and that while they were not going to persecute or marginalise those who engaged in homosexual practice, they were not going to promote them.
Primates were present or represented from nine Anglican provinces, including Scotland. Archbishop John Sentamu brought a message of greeting from Canterbury and added one of his own in Luganda.
The Anglican Church is a dominant religious community in Uganda with 45 per cent of the population. Its close relations with the state were symbolised by the presence of the Prime Minister and the President who presented Archbishop Ntagali with “new shoes”, the keys to a Toyota Landcruiser.
Archbishop Bob Duncan of what was styled as The Anglican Province of North America preached and gave a moving testimony of his own spiritual journey through confirmation at the age of 11, to a clearly audible call, “You will be my priest”, at 13, and submission to Christ “as the brother I never had” and the authority of his word “till it lets me down” at 18 – “and it has never let me down.”
Reminding the new archbishop that a new leader has no idea what leadership would cost or where one would have to go, he noted that since becoming Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1996, a thousand bishops and clergy had been supposedly defrocked in North America, including himself. The Church of Uganda will fully participate in GAFCON 2.
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