Bishop Colin Johnson and his wife Ellen.
Bishop Colin Johnson, diocesan bishop of Toronto, and his wife Ellen are scheduled to visit the Church of Uganda from March 5 to 15, a visit that may have great significance, wrote Rev. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa in an article on the diocesan Web site.
“The leaders of the Church of Uganda have been outspoken on the issues that divide the Anglican Communion,” wrote Mr. Mukasa, a consultant in congregational development who will accompany the Johnsons on their trip. “Three years ago, Archbishop Henry Orombi announced the severing of relations with churches in North America, including the Anglican Church of Canada.
“In view of all this, the Johnsons’ visit is truly a daring act of love; the kind that reaches out to the neighbour even when that neighbour is predisposed to turn away. Thankfully, in the 10 days the Johnsons will be in Uganda, they will be welcomed in at least six dioceses, including the largest three. This will indeed be a bridge-building mission, with implications and possibilities for the future of the Communion.”
“There’s a saying in Uganda: Akwana akira ayomba. A rough translation would be something like: “Fostering friendship beats making enemies.” The sense of the original statement is that making enemies may require one to simply do nothing. Fostering friendship, however, requires one to invest time and commitment. There is no shortage of leaders today, in the worldwide Anglican Communion, whom we can count on to stand for ‘the truth.’ What we need more of, though, are leaders who will dare to build bridges,” Mr. Mukasa wrote.
With nearly eight million members, the Church of Uganda is the third largest in the Anglican Communion, after the churches of England and Nigeria. During dictator Idi Amin’s repression in the 1970s and the civil war that followed his ouster, the Church of Uganda provided refuge to tens of thousands of internally displaced people.