By Francis Kagolo
President Yoweri Museveni has asked Born-again Christians to employ the skills they use in collecting funds for God’s work to set up communal income generating projects to spur development.
Speaking at the inauguration of Liberty Worship Centre Cathedral, which is now Uganda’s biggest church, the President said individuals have power to do mighty things if only they could unite.
While it is important to construct churches, the President said Christians also ought to think of strategies to boost their incomes and help their poor colleagues out of poverty.
“When you built this church (Liberty), you were benefactors. Now I want you to use the same philosophy (of fundraising) to become investors,” said the President in response to Pastor Imelda Namutebi’s disclosure that the sh6b cathedral was built using believers’ contributions.
“The church is for worshiping but you do not make money from worshiping. You should use the same formula you used to build the church to start projects where you are the beneficiaries. Buy a maize mill or build hostels so that you make money.”
Ministers, MPs, Police officers and pastors from different churches were among the thousands who braved Saturday’s morning rain to attend the grand opening of the 15,000-seater church.
Pastor Robert Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Centre, Namutebi’s mentor, said prayers dedicating the church to God and lauded Museveni for restoring freedom of worship in the country.
The President commended Namutebi for espousing good leadership skills by not putting the believers’ money in her pocket. He said completion of the magnificent church manifest that “small animals can achieve a lot and defeat a mighty one when they combine strength.”
He caused ululations when he retold a story that he rejected a request from a senior member of one of the traditional churches to ban the Pentecostal (Balokole) movement in 1986.
“The man said that Balokole were misleading people. But Jesus also said if they are not against us, they are for us. That’s why I ignored my friend’s advice and let the people to pray the way they want,” he said.
“The Bible says we shall know them by their fruits. From what you are doing, it seems your fruits are clear. Balokole churches seem to have done a good job especially among the youth,” the President added before donating sh20m to Namutebi.
Sitting on 17 acres of land in Lugala, Rubaga Division in Kampala, the church measures 70m by 42m, close to the size of a football pitch. It has an auditorium for 15,000 people, conference room, treasury, kitchen and a VIP lounge.
The storied building, which took Namutebi almost 10 years to complete, also houses a health centre, which offers free treatment to believers and nearby villagers.
Namutebi envisions transforming the facility into a fully-fledged hospital to widen its scope of services and the number of people treated. There will also be a care centre for disadvantaged women and a youth training centre, among other projects.
Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba, who also attended the inauguration, told New Vision of a plan to include the cathedral on the list of faith-based tourism sites. Other sites include Uganda martyrs shrine, Bahai temple, Gadhafi and Kibuli mosques as well as Rubaga Catholic and Namirembe Protestant cathedrals.
“(Namutebi’s) cathedral is big and magnificent. It gives believers hope and courage. It will be good for Uganda’s tourism if they start holding international conferences there,” Mutagamba said.
Pastor Kayanja said Museveni was “God-sent from heaven to heal Uganda’s political problems, fight sectarianism and emancipate people.”
Kayanja vowed to pray for Museveni to continue leading Ugandan as the country still has challenges that need serious managers to solve.