From our CMS Mission Partners in Uganda
Dear brothers and sisters in Link Churches,
Greetings from Uganda, where we are sweltering under temperatures in the 30s, as its the hot dry season. We listen with envy to the radio telling us of snow and frost in UK – no doubt the novelty of winter has worn off for you however!
There are at the moment, however, certain issues going on here that we would value your prayers for, and we thought we would send this email in addition. The Diocese is embattled on a few fronts, and we hope you can share with us in the struggle.
The diocese is divided into 10 archdeaconries, of which one (Moyo) has been troubled by division and conflict for over a year. But within the past month three other archdeaconries have rejected their archdeacon and forcibly, or by intimidation, evicted him and his family from their house. No actual violence has been used, and all the archdeacons concerned have ancestral homes to which they have returned at least for the time being. The diocese is slowly taking steps to try and resolve the situation by meetings with church and village elders and sending investigative teams to try and discover the root causes of the disturbances. It is hard to know the underlying causes, or who has initiated the unrest. But there is certainly an element of tribalism in all of the cases, and there is also some element of grievance against the diocesan leadership, including the bishop and archdeacons.
All this is seriously damaging Christian witness in the diocese and disrupting normal activity. It is also creating a general sense of dis-ease and anxiety amongst many, including the bishop. The diocese has a history, under the previous bishop, of serious division and conflict and he is deeply concerned about where all this will lead.
Things to pray about:
•?# That further conflict will be avoided and the situation will not worsen in the diocese
•?# For the bishop and senior leaders, for wisdom and courage, and for a spirit of servant-leadership;
•?# For insight into those issues and grievances which need to be addressed at archdeaconry and/or diocesan level;
•?# For the protagonists, some of whom are probably not actually church members, but being used by others to fight their battles;
•?# For pastors to recognise their pastoral responsibility to be peacemakers in this situation;
•?# For us and other Mission Partners to know what our role should be and how we can best support those who are seeking to discern the way to resolve the issues;
•?# That God would work through his people to live out the gospel in their communities and stand firm against the forces which are seeking to disrupt the church’s mission.
Thank you for your support.
With our love.
Allan and Anne.