Scripture Union: Turning young souls to Christ since 1963
Posted Sunday, October 27 2013 at 00:00
Children and youth holistically are taught to read the Bible and apply the principles in transforming their country.
If you have gone to a Protestant- founded school in Uganda, you will remember a club whose members were not only brought together to socialise and have fun, but to build an even more important journey – nourish their spirituality.
On November 2, the ministry will be celebrating its 50-year journey in Uganda under the theme “Freedom in Christ”. President Museveni is expected to preside over the function at the Kololo Independence Ground.
While other students enjoyed a weekend afternoon watching a movie or some other form of entertainment, others met to pray, share testimonies and praise God. These students were members of the Scripture Union Clubs.
Scripture Union Clubs were introduced in Uganda in the early 1950s by the Church Missionary Society. The clubs thrived in schools like Gayaza High School and Kings College Budo, among others. However, Scripture Union was not fully established in Uganda until 1963.
God’s Word in a Young World, The story of Scripture Union authored by Nigel Sylvester, talks of Fred Crittenden, a children’s missioner in Kenya and Uganda who narrates his early SU experience in the 1950’s.
“A particularly fruitful week was spent at Kings College Budo, near Kampala. There was no emotions, he reported, but boy after boy came quietly afterwards to talk to me, saying he wanted to get right with God”, Crittenden is quoted.
That has been the ministry’s focus - transforming youth and children through conferences, camps, life skills training and distributing Christian literature.
Mr Jairus Mutebe, who served as national SU director between 1995 and 2003, says SU started producing and distributing literature in schools in 1963. Its first staff members were Albert Taylor, Jacob Matovu and Ron White.
During one of the ministry’s conferences at Nabumali High School in 1967, a 17-year-old Senior One student became a Christian and joined the club. It was here that Titus Oundo’s journey into ministry started.
Now a pastor at Deliverance Church Nsambya, Oundo was a year later elected to head the SU in the eastern region and also served as the chairperson of the club in A-Level.
“When I completed High school with enthusiasm, because of having been involved in playing music, Ron White invited me to travel with him in all regions playing the guitar,” he says.
Oundo says there was a lot of enthusiasm but few people on board.
“Volunteers were few and we depended a lot on SU International. SU Uganda didn’t have a lot of money and infrastructure,” Oundo recalls.
The volatile political situation in the 1960s and 1970s did not spare it either.
Sylvester writes: “In Uganda, SU might well have been expected to collapse in July 1973, when General Amin deported Ron White, the only staff worker at ‘twenty four hours’ notice’, the committee rose to the occasion and took over his responsibilities. Camps and groups continued, throughout the Amin years.”