Footballer who became bishop

Rev Pons Ozelle receives a car from President Museveni after his consecration yesterday at St Stephen Cathedral grounds at Goli in Nebbi District. Right is Vice President Jessica Alupo. Photo / Robert Elema

What you need to know:

  • The energetic and dynamic Rev Pons Ozelle was yesterday consecrated at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Goli, the headquarters of the Anglican Diocese of Nebbi.

The talented footballer, who played for his community, secondary schools, district leagues and promoted sports at various parishes, has been consecrated as the third Bishop of Nebbi Diocese.

The energetic and dynamic Rev Pons Ozelle was yesterday consecrated at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Goli, the headquarters of the Anglican Diocese of Nebbi.

The second Bishop of Nebbi was the Rt Rev Alphonse Watho-kudi, who died in January 2021 from Covid-19 related illness. Immediately upon his death, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba, became the Bishop of Nebbi Diocese. He appointed retired Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi to represent him as the Care-taker.

Speaking to Daily Monitor, Bishop  Ozelle said: “When the call came in, it was a surprise. But I just said, let God’s will be done. This is a tough journey of making sure that there is peace, unity for a purpose, ensuring that grabbing of church land and other community wrangles are settled amicably.”

 The Bishop said he would prioritise the issue of early and unwanted pregnancies in communities and also counsel couples to create firm family foundations.  He also said he would actively engage in negotiations with government to work on the Nebbi-Goli-Paidha road.

 “People of West Nile should be united like the Arua Boys. All the bishops, sheikhs, politicians should unite to fight poverty that is common in communities.  A life without God is like a Ship sailing in the sea without compass. You roam aimlessly. So religious leaders should guide the flock to live in peace and love,” he said.

 He added: “You should relate and not undermine anybody to bring peace. We need people to have resources in their hands. Poverty is one of the things that pushes people into problems. We shall need to help people on how to generate resources. A transformed nation comes from good evangelism.”

“At the age of two, I fell sick and I was brought to Arua Regional Referral Hospital. And they pronounced me dead and on the way as they transported me to Goli, I came back to life. So every time I misbehave, my grandmother would remind me about that. This haunted me. When I matured I thought deeply that I was living a borrowed life and I had to embrace God,” Bishop Ozelle recalls.

About bishop Ozelle

Bishop Ozelle was born August 17, 1969. He studied at Goli Primary School and attended O-Level at Uringi Secondary School and A-Level at Mvara Secondary School.

He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Theological College in Singapore.  He also has a Certificate in Administrative Law and a Bachelor of Divinity from Uganda Christian University, a post-graduate Diploma in Teacher Education from Kyambogo University, and a Diploma in Business Studies from Uganda College of Commerce, Pakwach.

Bishop Ozelle became Born Again on December 19, 1993 after hearing directly from God that if he did not repent of his ungodly ways and enter into a personal relationship with God, he would surely die at a young age, just as two of his friends had died.  He was very shaken by this experience and gripped with deep conviction. He immediately went to his local parish church and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his personal lord and saviour.

 He was ordained a deacon in 2000 and then made a priest on November  18, 2001. He has served as diocesan secretary and diocesan administrator of Nebbi Diocese, Archdeacon of two Archdeaconries, parish priest, and chaplain of several schools.

Rev Ozelle has also served with World Vision, taught at Uganda College of Commerce in Pakwach District and Paidha Primary Teachers’ Training College in Zombo District, and chaired the Boards of Governors for Uringi Secondary School and Pakwach Secondary School.  Rev Ozelle is married to Edna Owila, who teaches at Uringi Secondary School, and God has blessed them with four children.

 His election was made by the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda sitting at the Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo, on October 27, 2021.

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