Born on October 21st 1929, Rt. Rev. (Rtd) Bishop Remelia Ukwendru Ringtho was the second Bishop of Madi and West Nile Diocese.
In 1976, he served as an Assistant Bishop before being confirmed as a full Bishop in 1977 by the late Rtd. Rev. Silvanus Wani, who had been consecrated as the Archbishop of the Northern Ugandan Diocese following the death of his predecessor, the late Janan Luwum.
After 10 years of service, Bishop Ringtho officially retired from his position in 1987.
Though relieved from his duties, the Bishop emphasizes that he is not retired from his faith as a Christian. He adds that it is the reason why he still attends services at his home church, Alia Church of Uganda which is about 200 metres from his ancestral home in Yindobe Warr Paduk village, Joloka Parish, Warr Subcounty in Zombo district.
Bishop Ringtho spends much of his time at home due to what he terms as ‘old age’ that has affected his health which has prevented him from travelling much. While at home, the Bishop continues to serve God through offering spiritual guidance and counseling to those in his community regardless of their age or background.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16 and “For by grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 are Bishop Ringtho’s favorite Bible verses in his day to day Christian life.
Early life and Education
A second born of 10 children, Rt. Rev. (Rtd) Remelia Ukwendru Ringtho was born on October 21st 1929 to Mr. Pandhaleo Ukwendru Binega and Mrs. Oryemu Ukonji in Yindobe Warr Paduk village, Warr Sub County, the present Zombo district.
In 1942, he left his father’s home and moved in with his uncle, Uyuru, who was working as a head servant to the District Commissioner in Arua town. In the same year, Bishop Ringtho joined Mvara Mission Primary School, Arua where he studied from Primary one to Primary three and later, went to Goli Mission Primary School in Nebbi for his Primary four to Primary six classes.
He went through his Junior Secondary Education from 1949 -1951 in Mvara Mission Secondary School, Arua and later for a two year English Lay Reader Course at the same Mission before moving on to a one year pre-ordination course at Bwalasi Theological College in Mbale district courtesy of his own father and the District Local Government Sponsorship Programme. His hard work and dedication towards his career path earned him another two years for the Ordination Course in the same college.
Bishop Ringtho later travelled to England for a Post Ordination and Diploma Course in Theology at Bristol Trinity College – London from 1965 to 1967.
Before flying out of the Country, Bishop Ringtho worked as a Church Teacher at Jiako Church of Uganda under Madi and West Nile Diocese, a task he performed for only one year before being transferred to Goli Junior School where he worked as a Church Waden from 1957- 1959.
He worked as the Parish Priest of St. Stephen Church of Uganda, Arua from 1963-1965, then travelled to London.
Shortly after his ret urn from London, Bishop Ringtho was appointed Secretary and Treasury, Madi and West Nile Diocese, a post he held from 1969-1973
However, when Madi and West Nile Diocese, was curved from Northern Uganda Diocese, Bishop Silvanus Wani, the predecessor to Bishop Ringtho became the first Bishop of the new Diocese.
In September 1973 after the consecration of Bishop Wani, Ringtho was transferred to Bishop Tucker Theological College Mukono, the current Uganda Christian University (UCU) as a Teacher and Bursar from 1973 to October 1976 where he was elected Assistant Bishop of Madi and West Nile Diocese.
After the death of Janani Luwum, Bishop Silvanus Wani became the Archbishop of Northern Uganda Diocese in 1977 as Ringtho assumed his position as the new and second Bishop of Madi and West Nile Diocese in the same year. Bishop Ringtho worked as the Bishop of the Diocese up to December 1987 when he retired.
Bishop Ringtho married Eunice Ringtho, a daughter to Erasto Ulebu of Padere Anjiku Aluka Warr in 1953.
God blessed them with 9 children; 5 boys and 4 girls of whom, two boys and two girls have gone to rest with the Lord.
Their mother, Eunice Ringtho, who passed on in April 2015 at the age of 80 years generously shared her motherly love with everyone who she interacted with regardless of their class, belief or associations. She was a true woman of virtue who kept the doors to her house open to anyone who needed a home
Bishop Ringtho’s grandfather was called Binega, the grandson of King Ariem, the then King of Alur.
Binega had three wives and Bishop Ringtho’s father, Pandhaleo Ukwendru Ringtho was the son of the first wife commonly referred to as Nyarukoro Nyapagwinya in the Alur culture.
Binega married Nyapagwinya from Okoro Clan in Okoro Sub County, Zombo district. Pandhaleo was the elder son of Nyapagwinya, followed by Sipora Anyenya and their last born, Serena Ucha.
Pandhaleo later married Ringtho’s mother, Uryemu Ukonji from Kebu Membi clan of Warr, who gave birth to ten children of whom the former Bishop was the second born. Five of the ten children; three boys (including Ringtho) and two girls are still alive; all married with children and living in their ancestral village in Warr Sub County.
In his time in office, Ringtho initiated various trainings for the Clergy which in turn empowered the young people in his community to take up roles in the Church Administration and Management.
At the time he assumed office as Bishop, most Churches in the Diocese were either operating under trees or in grass thatched structures but the Bishop strived hard to see that Church funds are used for building permanent Church structures in the Diocese.
It was during this era that the construction of Emmanuel Cathedral in Mvara and St. Phillips Church in Arua town started.
He spearheaded the creation of more Parishes and Archdeaconries across the Diocese so as to take the word of God closer to Christians.
Above all, Ringtho used his position to preach peace in the region by urging sons and daughters of West Nile not to shed blood through subversive activities, a message which later brought peace in the region.
For his invaluable service, Bishop Ringtho received a letter of recognition from the government of Uganda in 1984.