A total of 349 lay readers in the Church of Uganda Busoga Diocese were passed out on Sunday upon completion of a two-year training course.
The ceremony, held at Christ Cathedral Bugembe in Jinja district, was presided over by Busoga Bishop Dr. Michael Kyomya. He urged the graduands to respect the people they serve.
The lay readers, 40% of whom were women, received the training from study centres at their respective archdeacons. The Rev. Davidson Lubulwa Waiswa, the diocesan education co-ordinator, said 125 of the graduands got the 50% pass mark and were awarded the Grade 3 lay readers certificate, while those who scored below 50% received an attendance certificate.
â€œBut the nature of certificates they got does not affect their performance in the field. They all received the skills and tools for effective and efficient service delivery,â€ he observed.
According to Waiswa, the Grade 3 certificate is recognised by the Province of the Church of Uganda and a holder is allowed to serve anywhere in the country.
He noted that a holder can upgrade to a PhD level. Waiswa said the lay readers are charged with leading service in the church, making pastoral visits to the sick, the needy and offering other services to the communities alongside other priests.
He added that this yearâ€™s pass-out brings to about 700 the number of lay readers trained by the diocese since 2006. Waiswa said the training was aimed at ensuring that each of the over 1,200 churches in the diocese gets at least a lay reader for proper service delivery.
The diocesan secretary, the Rev. Can. Sam Egesa, urged the graduands to brace themselves for the tasks ahead. â€œChristians may not be able to contribute towards development projects as may be expected due to widespread poverty as our region is ranked highest in poverty. They (lay readers) will also meet challenges like increased moral decay.â€
300 Busoga lay readers graduate