RESOLUTIONS OF THE 23RD PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLY OF CHURCH OF UGANDA
Archbishop Stanley gave a press conference today on the far-reaching resolutions of the 23rdProvincial Assembly that met in Mukono from 23rd to 26th August 2016.
The Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda is the highest governing body of the Church of Uganda and consists of five delegates from every Diocese in the Church. All Diocesan Bishops are members of the Provincial Assembly. The Assembly is comprised of the House of Bishops, House of Clergy, and House of Laity. The Assembly meets every two years and sets vision and policy for the Church of Uganda.
The Theme of the 23rd Provincial Assembly was: ‘Make Every Effort to Live in Peace with everyone and be Holy’ (Hebrews 12:14). Using this exhortation from Hebrews, the Provincial Assembly made some far-reaching decisions and resolutions:
- We declared that the year 2017 shall be the Year of the Family.
The family is the fabric of society and the base for a stable community and nation. It is lamentable that the families in our country are facing deliberate attack by different evil forces both from within and outside. This makes our children very vulnerable. They are growing in a very violent environment and many have become victims of circumstances. In the process they are denied their rights.
We are greatly concerned about domestic violence, child sacrifice, drunkardness, drug abuse, sodomy and homosexuality, joblessness, poverty, permissiveness, peer pressure and other evils which target the family directly.
We must focus our attention on protecting and guiding our families in our communities and entire country.
In 2017 – the Year of the Family – our main objective will be to emphasise the great importance of the family and its values to society. Protection of our children and promoting the central position of families will be deliberately advocated for and promoted without compromise. We will identify and condemn the enemies of our families and fight them because they are the vehicles of moral decadence in our country.
- We Are Committed to Life and, therefore, urge Government to Keep Abortion Illegal.
We are aware that the Ministry of Health is drafting a bill to legalize abortion. The Church of Uganda is opposed to abortion. Abortion which is done by one’s choice is against Gods will and the Bible considers it to be murder. Any life has the right to continue and no one has the mandate to destroy it.
There is plenty of evidence that demonstrates that legalizing abortion is not a significant factor in reducing maternal mortality, despite the arguments we may often hear. The medical infrastructure required for safe abortions is the same medical infrastructure required for safe childbirth. So, if abortion is legalized before safe childbirth is available to every mother in Uganda, the only thing legalizing abortion will do is create more opportunities for women to die in poorly funded and poorly staffed medical facilities in this country. This would be very tragic.
The God of the Bible is about life, not death. The legalization of abortion is only appropriate if the goal is to prevent childbirth. If the goal is to protect the mother and baby throughout pregnancy and childbirth then legalizing abortion is not the solution.
The Church of Uganda is committed to improving the conditions of childbirth in our country and to focus on life…life for the mother and life for the baby. We will resist efforts to legalize abortion in Uganda; it is not necessary to reduce maternal mortality.
- Sexuality Education and Reproductive Health Education
We have become aware of a harmful educational programme called Comprehensive Sexuality Education that has been introduced in some of our schools. This programme promotes homosexuality and we are concerned about how it was allowed to be taught in some of our schools. We call for its removal and for the government to ensure that all sexuality education materials promote the Biblical values of abstinence before marriage, and faithfulness in lifelong marriage between one man and one woman.
Likewise, we have become aware of a programme in the Ministry of Health known as Reproductive Health Education that will introduce our children between the ages of 10-24 years to the use contraceptive pills and other family planning methods without the consent of their parents or guardians. This is very dangerous and, as the Church of Uganda, we resist it in the strongest terms. It is our God given responsibility to defend our children and guide our legislators not to introduce irrelevant education to our children.
- Land Grabbing
Land grabbing is becoming an epidemic in our country. Church land is being encroached on and grabbed. Likewise, the poor and vulnerable are also at a high risk of being left homeless when others attempt to grab their land. It is only greed that drives this kind of exploitation and we call on Government to simplify the process of registering land, and to also oppose the greedy who seek to intimate the poor – and even the church – in order to grab land.
- Creation of New Diocese of Northwest Ankole
The Assembly approved in principle, the creation of the 37th COU Diocese of North-West Ankole to be inaugurated in one year’s time after the outstanding works and activities have been completed. The Diocese is to be carved out of current Diocese of Ankole and will have its Headquarters in Ibanda.
- The 10-Year COU Provincial Strategic Plan 2016-2025
The 23rd Provincial Assembly approved a 10-year master Strategic plan which is a breakthrough for the entire Church. The Plan sets out priorities for the development of the Church and the country at large. The four strategic areas of focus during the 10-years will be: i) Mission Focus; ii) Socio-Economic Focus; iii) Community engagement Focus; and iv) Institutional Focus. Implementation of the Strategic plan will make the Church more vibrant and focused on the critical areas of need among the communities. The Plan will soon be officially launched and rolled out to all Dioceses. When launched I will call upon every member of Church, our Development Partners and friends of COU to embrace the Strategic Plan and get involved in its implementation.
- Amendment of the COU Provincial Constitution 1972 (as Amended 1994)
After a comprehensive review of the current Provincial Constitution, the 23rd Provincial Assembly approved various amendments that will come into force on the 1st January 2017. The Amended Constitution will facilitate and help in the resolution of the constitutional, governance, administrative and operational arrangements within Church of Uganda.
- 40th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum
Next 16th February will be the 40th anniversary of the Martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum. The Church of Uganda and the Government have formed a Joint National Organizing Committee to mark this historic anniversary. We thank the President for making every 16th February a public holiday in honour of the life and martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum. He stood for the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and against corruption and injustice. As the Church of Uganda today, we will continue to proclaim the same unchanging message, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13.8)
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali