By Luke Orombi
On March 15, 2006 New Vision reported that Christopher Ssenyonjo, the second Bishop of West Buganda Diocese, had a new â€œArchbishop called Howardâ€ in America, had formed a new denomination called the â€˜Charismatic Church of Ugandaâ€™, and had consecrated a bishop.
On March 15, 2006 New Vision reported that Christopher Ssenyonjo, the second Bishop of West Buganda Diocese, had a new â€œArchbishop called Howardâ€ in America, had formed a new denomination called the â€˜Charismatic Church of Ugandaâ€™, and had consecrated a bishop. I regret that Ssenyonjo did not have the courtesy to contact me personally about his decision to abandon the Church of Uganda (COU) and seek a new Archbishop. Our church canons (church laws) provide for a Bishop to relinquish the exercise of ordained ministry when he affiliates with another religious body not in communion with the COU. When, however, a Bishop does not do that, our canons stipulate that he has abandoned the COU. I have, therefore, written to Ssenyonjo informing him that I, along with the Provincial Chancellor, presume that he has abandoned the COU. Four years ago, in 2002, the retired Archbishop, on behalf of the entire House of Bishops of the COU, wrote to Ssenyonjo depriving him of vesting and laying on of hands.
In light of Ssenyonjoâ€™s decision to establish another church and consecrate a Bishop, we are obliged to warn our fellow Ugandans of the spiritual danger at hand. Ssenyonjoâ€™s new church, the Charismatic Church, has no relationship with the COU. I, therefore, urge the people of Uganda to not become confused by the similarity of the name. The COU completely disassociates herself from Ssenyonjo and his new church.
Ssenyonjo has now been denied the right to exercise the office of a bishop or retired bishop in the COU, including the spiritual authority as a minister of the Word and Sacraments. He is no longer entitled to wear the robes of a deacon, priest, or bishop in the COU. He is no longer a bishop of the COU.
He is no longer entitled to use the title Bishop Ssenyonjo, as if he were still a Bishop in the COU. He is no longer entitled to preach, speak, or greet congregations as a Bishop in the COU. He is no longer entitled to preside at weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations, ordinations or Holy Communion in the COU.
He is no longer entitled to pronounce the absolution of sin or the blessing of God Almighty in congregations of the COU. He is no longer entitled to participate in consecration of bishops in the COU. He is no longer entitled to participate in any liturgical celebration or function of the COU as a Bishop. He is no longer entitled to represent the COU locally, nationally, or internationally.
We have advised all civil authorities in Uganda that any licence held by Ssenyonjo for which his ordination in the COU was an indispensable qualification shall now be null and void. A church or denomination formed contrary to the constitution and canons of our church, such as Ssenyonjoâ€™s Charismatic Church, can only foster more confusion in the minds of our people. I want to pastorally warn the people of Uganda that participating in a church such as this without the blessing of the mother church, the COU, can be spiritually dangerous and is unlikely to lead people in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
For at least six years, Ssenyonjo has persisted in openly misrepresenting the teachings of Scripture. He has been misleading the public on the good news of the Gospel and the historic teaching of the church on human sexuality that the COU and the vast majority of the Christian world uphold.
The Bible says sexual intimacy is reserved for a husband and wife in a lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous marriage. We are committed to offering the Gospel to everyone, including those who feel marginalised, those confused about their sexuality and those struggling with homosexuality.
The writer is the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda
Bishop Ssenyonjo undesirable in COU