President Museveni has for the second time in less than three months courted members of the clergy and asked them to take a more visible role in the fight against poverty by promoting the teaching of science in church-founded schools.
Speaking at the 21st Church of Uganda Provisional Assembly which opened at Uganda Christian University in Mukono yesterday, the President said the church should invest more in changing the lives of the rural poor, from subsistence livelihood to producing food for both domestic consumption and commercial purposes. He called upon the church to promote the teaching of science subjects so that Ugandans can “subdue” the earth and exercise “dominion” over it.
Quoting various verses from the Bible, notably Genesis 1:28, the President urged religious leaders to teach Christians about proper management of nature to benefit man and please God. “It is the duty of Christians to master the laws of nature to use it to the benefit of man and to the glory of God. Promoting sciences is therefore a duty of all Christians,” he said. He added: “Ugandans figured out how to extract iron from iron ore, but that was not enough.
Americans have gone to the moon, but Ugandans are just here. We need to teach sciences so Ugandans will move beyond superstition and witchcraft.” He also asked the church to avoid focusing on worldly pleasures, saying: “Worldly things are as useless as dust. Our rewards are in heaven.”
The Provincial Assembly is the legislative and governing body for the Church of Uganda, consisting of a House of Laity, a House of Clergy, and a House of Bishops. Each of the 34 dioceses sends representatives to each House. In between full meetings of the Provincial Assembly, its Provincial Assembly Standing Committee meets and provides governance and accountability to the Provincial Assembly.
The assembly meets every two years and is chaired by the Archbishop. This newspaper understands that it is in this meeting that the clergy is to elect the replacement of Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali as the Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese. Rt. Rev. Ntagali was in June elected to replace the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi as archbishop.
The Church’s director of communications, Rev. Canon Dr Alison Barfoot, confirmed this but said she did not have details on the matter. “Yes, they were supposed to have a meeting this afternoon [yesterday] and tomorrow [today] but I don’t have any idea of what will come out of the meetings. As soon as we get the results, I will be able to communicate,” Ms Barfoot said.