REMEMBRANCE OF THE MARTYRS: Reflections from Uganda 2020

Mar 12, 2020 by

by Stephen Noll, Contending Anglican:

On my way home back from Uganda last week, I stopped over at the Anglican Martyrs’ Shrine at Namugongo, the pagan execution ground, now a pilgrimage site. The new museum (2015) is very impressive – and (trigger warning) very gory. The first converts, who were elite pages of the king’s court, were not treated kindly for worshiping King Jesus. They were dragged, hacked, starved, and forced to gather kindling for their own funeral pyre.

They are not forgotten. June 3 is Martyrs’ Day in Uganda and a public holiday, with massive crowds of pilgrims at both Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines.

Ugandans generally are soft-spoken, mannerly and gracious, but when it comes to standing firm for the Gospel, they have not been shy. Shortly after Gene Robinson was made bishop in the USA in 1993, the Anglican Church of Uganda broke communion with the Episcopal Church and informed American missionaries that they should dissolve any ties with it. Its two Archbishops since that time, Henry Luke Orombi and Stanley Ntagali, have been prominent in the Gafcon movement, with the unanimous backing of its Provincial Assembly. The new archbishop promises to continue in this train.

On March 1, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba was enthroned as the ninth Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. It was a national celebration, full of pomp and circumstance, live-streamed on state TV, attended by the President of Uganda and the Queen of Buganda. It was also an international Anglican event, with Primates and prominent leaders from near and far – from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, and from Brazil, Australia, Ireland, England, and North America.

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