On November 9, I attended a fundraising event organised by Christians of Terego Archdeaconry for the purpose of generating funds for roofing St Matthew’s Church, Drikpara. The Bishop of Madi and West Nile Diocese, Rt Rev Charles Collins Andaku, delivered the sermon at a service which preceded the function.
The guest of honour was Koboko County MP James Baba, but due to unforeseen developments, he was unable to attend and requested me to deputise for him. Among invited guests were Terego West MP Moses Angundru, senior officials and elders.
Bishop Andaku’s powerful sermon, based on 2 Corinthians 8:1-16, inspired the congregation to dig deep into their pockets and handbags and the results were much better than expected.
The theme of the sermon - let us excel in giving - was taken from 2 Corinthians 8:7 which reads, “Now as you excel in everything – in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness and in your love for us – see that you excel in this gracious work also.” (RSV)
The Bishop outlined three principles of giving: first, give yourself to God; second, give willingly; third, give generously like Jesus who, on his own accord, sacrificed his life for us on the cross. He urged Christians not to cheat or rob God who created us in His own image and whose love for us is inestimable.
In my remarks I elaborated on a couple of themes Bishop Andaku addressed in his sermon.
I based my address on 2 Corinthians 9:2 which reads as follows: “Each one of us must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (RSV)
St Matthew’s Church is the seat of the Archdeacon of Terego. During the colonial regime, Anglican priests who served in West Nile were predominantly British and based at Mvara, Arua Municipality.
The first Anglican priest from West Nile was the Rev Silvano Wani (RIP) who trained at Buwalasi Theological College and was ordained a deacon in 1943. In 1944, the Rev Wani was ordained a priest and posted to serve as a Curate at the newly created Wandi Parish. He was the first resident priest of St Matthew’s Church. In 1977, he was elected Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.
Among his successors are the Rev Can Timoteo Inima, father of Canon Sally Anguyo and the Rev Can Enoka Yada (RIP), my father. They served the Lord and the people of God with dedication and distinction. I believe they are now in heaven praising and worshipping God in the communion of saints.
During a pastoral visit to West Nile in September 2015, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali visited and blessed the site of St Matthew’s Church, after which he conducted a big outdoor service at Church premises.
The prelate made some proposals to improve the design of the Church which has been implemented, for which we thank the Archbishop.
On why we should give cheerfully
The Holy Bible teaches that it’s better and a blessing to give than to receive. According to St Paul, the way Christians deal with money should reflect our faith. The basis for Christians to give cheerfully is as follows.
First, generosity is prompted by God’s grace. Generosity does not come naturally to most people, but like poor Macedonians who gave beyond what they could afford, it’s gratitude for God’s grace which frees us to give generously and even to excel.
Second, God wants you and me more than money or material gifts we choose to give to Him. Once you surrender your life to God, it becomes a privilege and an honour to give to the Lord our Creator.
Third, when we give, we are actually following the example Jesus Christ set when he left the glory of heaven to come and live on earth in poverty and voluntarily give His life for us.
Fourth, God enables us to give generously because as Scripture teaches, “as you sow, so shall you reap.”
Fifth, the amount one gives does not matter; what matters is your attitude. God applauds and appreciates an attitude of sacrificial giving which reflects the attitude of Christ.
At the end of the day, the people of God raised Shs32 million which is about 25 per cent of what is required to roof the Church. A lot remains to be done, but with God’s blessings and help all things are possible. To God be the glory!
Mr Acemah is a political scientist and retired career diplomat.