By Fred Ogwang
AMOLATAR - To bury or not to bury the dead on Sunday is the latest bone of contention in a little known Anglican church in Amolatar district.true
Fed up with the constant interruption of his Sunday church routine by one funeral after another, Rev. Levi Okello (right) of St. Luke’s Church of Uganda, Chakwara in Awelo Archdeaconry in Lira Diocese has said he will no longer preside over funerals on Sunday.
This announcement in effect bans the practice in the cleric’s area of jurisdiction.
Incidentally, Okello made the proclamation recently at the burial of Sam Ogwang, a resident of Okuruwie village in Etam sub-county.
The deceased drowned in Lake Kwania after his boat capsized during a fishing expedition gone wrong.
Sad as the moment was, Okello said the practice of burying the dead on Sunday has been affecting church programmes, like fund-raising activities fellowships and baptism services among others.
“Today has marked the end of presiding over a burial service on the Sabbath (Sunday). Sorry if you die thinking that the church will bury you on Sunday,” he said.
Okello also instructed all catechists and Christians in Chakwara zone not to make any arrangements for a funeral service on Sunday, adding that it is the only day fully dedicated to God.
Initially, the look on the faces of scores of mourners who had turned up for the funeral was one of shock. But this was followed by murmurs and then outright laughter from several others.
The Church of Uganda, to which the cleric subscribes, has no policy against burial on Sunday which perhaps explains the mourners’ amusement at the announcement.
A day later, Okello added: “Though it has not been a policy in the church, we shall begin to implement it in Chakwara to give room for Sunday worship and allow other programmes to run smoothly”.
In a remote area like Amolator where embalming the dead is unheard of because of the prohibitive costs involved, Okello advised Christians to proceed with burials on Sunday but wait for the service the next day.
Lira Diocese Bishop John Charles Odur Kami on Wednesday said he had not heard of the development and requested to reserve his comment.
“I just buried my mother yesterday. I am out in the village and not in position to comment on the matter,” the prelate said.
Reactions to Rev. Levi Okello's directive
Florence, a Christian
Rev. Okello should quote any verse in the Bible that tells us not to bury on Sunday. I feel he is misleading us.
Michael Ocen, a Christian in Lango Diocese
Clerics usually arrive late for Sunday burials because they are busy with church programmes. I support him.
James Opio, a ChristianThat is the Rev. Okello’s opinion, not the position of the Anglican church. He cannot impose his policy on us and expect us to accept it.
Peter Radi, a Christian
I agree with the Rev. Okello because even our Lord Jesus was not buried on Sunday. Sunday should be kept holy as God said in the Bible.
Sarah, a Christian
Burial should be done on any day, including Sunday, since death does not warn people in advance so that they plan better.
Lira Diocese priest bans funerals on Sundays