Pomp, colour as Banja is consecrated Namirembe bishop

Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba (centre) holds hands with new Namirembe Bishop Moses Banja and his wife Olivia Nassaka after the consecration at St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday. They are flanked by Vice President Jessica Alupo (right) and Nnaabagereka Sylvia Nagginda. PHOTOS/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI   

What you need to know:

The ceremony took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, presided over by Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu.

Ven Canon Moses Banja was yesterday consecrated as the sixth Bishop of Namirembe Diocese amid pomp and fanfare.

He replaces retiring Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira who has been at the helm of the diocese for the last 14 years.

The consecration took place during a well-attended morning service at St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, presided over by Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu.

At about 8:30am, Ven Canon Banja, the former archdeacon of Luzira Archdeaconry who was flanked by his wife, Prof Olivia Nassaka, and their three children, arrived at the cathedral ready to take on the mantle.

While taking the oath, Archbishop Kaziimba asked Ven Can Banja whether he was ready to diligently serve as bishop and also lead by example.

“Are you ready to faithfully and diligently banish or drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines such as homosexuality, secularism, materialism, liberalism, and all that is contrary to God’s word and encourage others to do the same?” Archbishop Kaziimba asked the new bishop.

Ven Can Banja affirmed that he would do so by the grace of God, amid cheers from the congregation.

Namirembe Bishop Moses Banja waves to the congregation after his consecration yesterday.   PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

South Ankole Diocese Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe, who was the lead preacher, urged the new bishop to work with everyone for the good of the diocese.

“You cannot be a bishop and do everything. You need people who will support you. The gospel will be preached if you team up with the clergy members, the board and council members, the synod and all the Christians,” Bishop Ahimbisibwe said.

In his maiden speech, Bishop Banja unveiled his six-point strategy and theme for his task ahead.

The strategies include; preaching the gospel, building and promoting the existing ministries as well as guarding and developing church land.

In addition, Bishop Banja said he would improve the clergy’s welfare, and promote development projects, including education.

Outgoing Namirembe Bishop Kityo Luwalira speaks during the consecration service yesterday.

He said the implementation of the six-point strategy will be anchored on John 15:16, which states: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you  so that you should go and bear fruit, fruits that will remain, so that whatever you ask  the father in my name, He will give you”.

Bishop Banja also pledged to fight poverty, immorality, conflict and family breakdown, among others.

“With God’s guidance, we are going to work with all Christians, government and Buganda Kingdom to address these challenges within the limited time available,” he said.

Left to Right: Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago with ministers Minsa Kabanda (Kampala) and David Bahati (State, Trade) at the function.

He urged the faithful to commit themselves to transforming the nation, church and the diocese.

“If you don’t get tired of holding Bishop Moses’ hands up, all the battles will be worn in Jesus’ name. You should know that being a bishop is not a joke, but is very serious work which comes with a lot of responsibilities,” he said.

He also advised those interested in becoming bishops never to force their way but leave everything to God.

In his speech read by Vice President Jessica Alupo, President Museveni implored Bishop Banja to serve selflessly.

“Utilise your vast experience to equip the believers with knowledge and skills that will enable the Church to flourish. As God has chosen you, His grace shall guide you and sustain your endeavors,” Mr Museveni said.

“You will need to grow on the potential that He bestowed on you to perform your duties. The church will require wise counsel and guidance at all times from you and God will shape the lives of individuals and families through you as you discharge your duties,” he added.

The President also urged Bishop Banja to continue being an agent of positive change in the society and that his work should not be limited to evangelism, teaching and discipleship but must mobilise communities and make them active participants in government programmes that affect their wellbeing.

Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi congratulated the new bishop upon his election and consecration but urged him to take forward the legacy of his predecessor.

Some of the Christians who attended the consecration service.   

Kabaka’s message

 “We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you in this new ministry as you lead the mighty people of God in both spiritual and transformational matters. We also pray that you take forward the legacy left behind by your predecessor, Bishop Kityo Luwalira, with courage and humility,” the Kabaka said in a speech read by Princess Agnes Nabaloga.

The kingdom’s prime minister, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga who was also in attendance, said the Church of Uganda has historical ties with the cultural institution.

Mr Mayiga promised that the kingdom shall continue to strengthen the historic ties between the institutions.

“As the bishop works for the salvation of souls, we shall welcome collaboration from the church as we strive for the social and economic wellbeing of the people of Buganda and indeed for Ugandans. The cooperation between the kingdom and the Church can only make our work easier,” he said.