WEST NILE. Madi and West Nile diocese celebrations of the golden jubilee come just a year after the diocese also celebrated the centenary of the faith in the region.
However, apart from the obvious growth in the religious aspect that has seen hundreds of the populace embrace the denomination, the church has had other roles in socio-economic growth, education, health, etc.
In this edition, we take a look at key personalities at the diocese secretariat to ascertain what they make of this contribution of the church in the last 50 years and what lies ahead.
Bishop Charles Collins Andaku who incidentally celebrated the centenary of faith in the West Nile region in 2018 says he is humbled to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the diocese as its chief shepherd.
“I feel so excited and humbled because God appointed me at the time to have these two celebrations done. When he made me a Bishop I cried and my children cried, actually humanly many expected me to say no because they know the kind of person I am, while others were saying I should not disappoint them and at the end I didn’t disappoint God and the people because I know when he calls you, he can clean and direct you in all things” Bishop Andaku says.
The prelate says presiding over the centenary and the Golden Jubilee of the diocese has inspired him to do more work for God.
Indeed under his guidance, the diocese has embarked on ambitious developmental activities aimed at empowering the church.
Plans for a shs3bilion office complex has already been drawn awaiting the official launch of the project. The bishop has also been passionate about the environment leading specific tree planting activities during confirmation services and declaring one special Sunday as tree Sunday dedicated towards conservation and restoration through tree planting.
What others said
Mr Elly Nayenda, chairs the committee organizing the golden jubilee celebrations and was upbeat when asked what actually the diocese was to celebrate.
“We are one of the oldest dioceses that has made 50 years and we have to celebrate people’s development; when the missionaries came in 1918 or so, we didn’t have people who were exposed to the world in terms of knowledge, education, health, etc. and yet we have all these things in place now”, Nayenda says.
He says the coming of the faith has also had a great impact on culture and shaping the way of life.
“Some people celebrate one year of birth, five years of marriage etc. So we have all the reason to celebrate 50 years of our existence and transformation of the people”, he further stresses.
However, despite the numerous achievements Nayenda admits there are still a number of challenges that the diocese needs to overcome in the years to come.
“One of the biggest challenges is to keep the young people interested in the church in terms of being in the laity, but also maintaining in the congregation, many are going out of the church”, Nayenda says.
“We have the challenge of poor welfare, you can’t imagine a clergyman earning less than 150,000 as salary and a church teacher earning less than sh. 50,000 or so it’s a big challenge”
Nayenda further says there is a big challenge of lack of commitment to Christ where there is a lot of ‘lip service’.
“One can say they are saved during the day but at night it’s a different thing and so salvation becomes conditional but not absolute in many people’s lives,” he says.
Ms Juliet Zilly Drijaru, the diocese’s education secretary says despite the big number of church founded schools in the diocese, performances have continued to deteriorate over the years.
“What people are looking at are the symptoms and yet we have not reached the roots of the problem, we have seen that there are many issues that are causing the performance to come down yearly and we need to style up”, Drijaru says.
“You see those days when these institutions were performing well, there was time for everything, time for students to go to class, for resting, for teachers to do other things but today students are in class from dawn to dusk and there seems to be a lot of teaching but less or no learning at all”, she laments.
The education secretary says the diocese has embarked on a number of meetings and sensitization drives to create awareness and identifying problems together.
Mr Kenneth Adrapi, the youth chairman of the diocese says the secular world is fast ‘eating up’ the young people and the church needs to recompose its strategy to bring them back if the golden jubilee celebrations are to make meaning.