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Launch of EFAC Uganda

ARCHBISHOP NTAGALI LAUNCHES EFAC-UGANDA, July 18, 2019

Johnson Ebong

How EFAC came to Uganda: Bishop Emeritus Dunstan Bukenya was appointed in 2018 by the Archbishop to lead a delegation of 230 people to a GAFCON meeting at Jerusalem. While there, he visited the EFAC desk where he registered his name and email address in their visitors' book. Not long thereafter, Bishop Dunstan received a newsletter in which EFAC invited him for a Training Conference in Nairobi. During this Training Conference Bishop Dunstan was appointed EFAC Contact Person – Uganda. Soon thereafter, he presented a proposal to the House of Bishops (of which he is a member representing retired Bishops).

On 20th February 2019, the House of Bishops resolved to allow EFAC, an International Anglican Movement to be born in the Church of Uganda. The Bishops appointed Rt. Rev Henry Katumba Tamale, the Bishop of West Buganda, to lead this new body. Soon after, Bishop Bukenya constituted an Interim Committee to register EFAC-U legally and launch it as a ministry under the Church of Uganda (Anglican).

The launch was attended by over 50 people among whom were bishops, clergy, leaders of evangelical churches in Uganda, and the leaders of Africa Centre for Apologetics in East Africa, LIFE Ministry (Lay Involvement For Evangelism) and other Para-church organizations.

The Archbishop’s speech: The Archbishop emphasized that the Church of Uganda has been blessed for many years by the ministry of EFAC, and that we are delighted that EFAC has been reactivated. He noted that EFAC’s consistent focus on the Biblical foundations of historic Anglicanism has paved the way for many in the Church of Uganda to understand the need for the birth of GAFCON.

“EFAC has had a long-time commitment to evangelical faith and we’re grateful for its support in deepening this understanding of our faith in Uganda. This helped us to understand what was happening when others in the Anglican Communion, including entire Dioceses and Provinces, adopted unbiblical doctrine that is contrary to our historic faith as Anglicans. It was also very grievous to us to see the four Instruments of Communion consistently fail to bring discipline and order in the Communion in the presence of such clearly false teaching.”

He concluded, “We’re grateful for the partnership between EFAC and GAFCON and want to encourage EFAC to support the spread of evangelical Anglicanism throughout the entire Anglican Communion, especially in non-GAFCON Provinces. There is an urgent need for this and such focus may be the most strategic thing you can do to strengthen the Anglican Church in Africa. We must stand together in the historic and Biblical faith of Anglicanism, recognizing that it is only the cross of Christ that binds us together. This is my encouragement for the launch of the EFAC-Uganda chapter. We in Uganda stand ready to support the spread of the Gospel throughout Africa and the world!”

Devotional message: Bishop Tamale, the EFAC chairman, spoke on the theme: Time is ripe for Lord’s harvest" taken from Matthew 9:35-38 and John 4:34-38. He emphasized that during the harvest season, there is joy and jubiliation because the food is plentiful and some crops are converted into cash. While the earthly harvest is seasonal, the Biblical harvest never ceases because of God’s unceasing provision, from which we should bless others as well. As a result, the Lord’s harvest is expected throughout the year. The Lord’s word once heard has to convict the sinner who will turn to the Lord. Therefore, we need faithfully to proclaim the Word to a needy and thirsty world.

'We are called to lead others to Christ, our Saviour, Redeemer, the Way, the Truth and the Life – through whom we can freely access heaven“. The Lord requires us to experience Jesus as Lord and Saviour in our hearts so that we can tell others out of experience. The Great Commission commands us to GO. Therefore the field is ripe at the market place, among the motorcycle taxi riders (bodabodas), those with relationship challenges which break families and communities and the like. ”Instead of judging people, we need to see them as the field ready for harvest", he emphasized.

He also cited the challenge of training suitable candidates for the ordained ministry and, after successful completion of their studies, their placements due to insufficient funds in the dioceses. To meet some of these challenges, a few teachers trained and ordained are sent to schools as chaplains, where the goventment pays their salaries. The Bishop cautioned EFAC-U members to be ready to pay the price, by standing firm and not compromising the faith by conforming to the standards of this depraved world. Members, therefore, should pray earnestly and zealously; living practical Christian lives and sowing the right seed into the field.

Keynote Address: Bishop Bukenya thanked His Grace, the House of Bishops and the Church of Uganda for allowing EFAC to be set up together within the structures of the Church of Uganda. He hoped that EFAC with its avalanche of blessings would make a great and lasting impact for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in Uganda. He noted, “EFAC has had a history in Uganda in the past through its Scholarships for Church leaders to study theology up to PhD level and many of them are now Bishops in this Church.”

Talking about the challenges in our Church today, Bukenya emphasized that in the context of the apologetic tradition of the Church, “We need to uphold evangelical truth in teaching, in defending the Bible and articulating what we believe and practice as true evangelical Christians, who walk the talk because - as some missionary having served in Uganda for some years once described our people here as ‘very spiritual but ungodly’!” Referring to the recent EFAC theological engagement last month --on the theme of “Leadership in the Anglican Church in East Africa' he noted that the delegates ”revealed among other theological, spiritual pastoral and moral problems that we have a leadership crisis: “ a fundamental and dangerous trend in preparation for the leaders in the region to the extent that in one country some Churches are completely closed by the State and their leaders prohibited to serve because they are not properly educated”

Greetings were sent from Bishop Hale and Bishop Sinclair the chairs of the EFAC Trustees and Executive: ‘May the Lord continue to raise up in the Church of the Martyrs in Uganda through your ministry churches and leaders who will believe, teach and live by scripture and the gospel.’