On August 28, Church of Uganda announced that after about 11 years as Bishop of Mityana, the Rt. Rev. Stephen Kazimba would replace Archbishop Stanley Ntagali as the next archbishop. What are the hopes of many?
First, many people, including myself, we are praying for him to lead with courage because not only has the Church of Uganda been pivotal in the strong stand against the unruly happenings at Canterbury, but also because the voice of the church can get a bit more heard in pronouncing itself on critical matters affecting the nation in this season.
Second, being the humble man that he is, the hope of many is that he will also find and/or work with a strong, focused and godly team at different levels of the church structures right from the Provincial Secretariat to the diocesan synods and other stakeholders.
As he plans to relocate to Namirembe Hill on March 1, 2020, it is clear that whereas the times require him to lead as a humble servant amid the lures and the pomp that often comes with his position, time will tell whether he will also lead with demonstrable firm, divine wisdom or give in to the temptations of just relying on his long experience.
Third, there is no doubt that he has demonstrated diligence in Mityana Diocese, being both a competent communicator of the gospel and a development-minded man of God. But now, the nation will be watching to see if he will also demonstrate enough industriousness required to lead today’s church with unapologetic innovation amid the usual pressures to preserve every church tradition, including those that no longer serve any purpose.
Fourth, given the exodus of some of the faithful to other denominations, one key task that awaits him is ensuring that people’s immense capacity and talents in the church are harnessed for multi-dimensional service, giving them platform to exercise their gifting and recognising the centrality of the five-fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11-12.
Those who have been standing at the spiritual fence will thus be on the lookout to see if he will either let the will of God be fiercely unhindered, especially at the policy-making level of the church or be easily swayed by some influential, but selfish people whose cunning wishes at times find their way into the modus operandi, to keep the church in the business-as-usual mode.
Fifth, one of the greatest temptations he will face is seeking to fit in anyone else’s shoes instead of following the new path of God’s current cruise. But if he chooses to be a Bible-centred and proactive leader, he will build a relevant church that meets the holistic needs of the people and serves the eternal purposes.
Otherwise, with all honesty, he risks just being another statistic as “someone among those who once led the Church of Uganda”. But behold, he has a great opportunity to reshape the terrain, make positive history, and leave an inerasable legacy of exemplary service, courageous guidance, and undistracted focus on what really matters.
In conclusion, will he be the uncompromised, prophetic voice able to speak unedited truth to power in love? Will he refuse to be corrupted and aborted on arrival at Namirembe? Will he conform to the evil requirements of the times? But most of all, will he lead as a role-model man of God?
Samuel A. Bakutana,