Kampala, (UG): It was all pomp and glamour on Sunday, December 10, 2023, as Ven Canon Moses Banja got consecrated to become the sixth Bishop of Namirembe Diocese in Kampala, the country’s capital.
Canon Banja who was last month announced the bishop-elect for the diocese replaces Bishop Rt. Rev Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, the latter having taken charge of the diocese since 2009.
The glamourous consecration function took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, presided over by Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu.
At about 8:30 am, Banja, the former archdeacon of Luzira Archdeaconry, 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.
Banja affirmed that he would do so by the grace of God before he went on to unveil 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. 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.
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.
The lead preacher of the day, Rt. Rev Nathan Ahimbisibwe, the Bishop of South Ankole Diocese 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 preached.
The Vice President, Rtd Maj Jessica Alupo who represented President Museveni at the consecration 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 endeavours,” the speech read in part.
“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.”
The President also urged Bishop Banja to continue being an agent of positive change in 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 well-being.
The Kingdom of Buganda, through Kabaka Ronald Mwenda Mutebi II, congratulated the new bishop upon his election and consecration but urged him to take forward the legacy of his predecessor.
“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.
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