Church of Uganda Consecrates an American as Bishop

The Church of Uganda Consecrates Two Bishops

6th September 2007

On Sunday, 2nd September 2007, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, and the House of Bishops consecrated two Bishops at St. James Cathedral, Mbarara.  More than 10,000 people, including the Prime Minister of Uganda, attended the colourful and lively five-hour ceremony.

The Rt. Rev. George Tibeesigwa was consecrated the fourth Bishop of Ankole Diocese, and the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey was consecrated a Bishop to serve the American congregations of the Church of Uganda.

“Today is an historic occasion,” declared Archbishop Orombi.  “The Church is giving birth to ‘twins.’ With today’s consecration of Bishop George Tibeesigwa, every Diocese now has a Bishop.”

The congregation responded with applause when Archbishop Orombi added, “With the consecration of Bishop John Guernsey, we are also making an important statement to the Anglican Communion.”

The consecration was unprecedented in the history of the Church of Uganda.  In addition to the twenty-five active and retired Bishops of the Church of Uganda, there was significant international participation from the global Anglican Communion.  The Primates of Kenya, Rwanda, and the Southern Cone (South America), and a representative of the Primate of Nigeria participated in the service, along with fourteen other Bishops from Kenya, Congo, Brazil, Australia, England, Canada, and the United States.

After the 2003 decision of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (TEC) to violate Biblical teaching by consecrating as Bishop a divorced man living in a same-sex relationship, TEC’s action “tore the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level.”

In 2004 the Church of Uganda responded to the first appeal from Biblically faithful congregations in America to receive them as members of the Church of Uganda.  There are now thirty-three congregations in the United States that are part of the Church of Uganda.

After the March 2007 rejection by TEC’s House of Bishops to the Pastoral Scheme presented to them unanimously by the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the House of Bishops elected the Rev. John Guernsey – a long-time friend, mission partner, and priest of the Church of Uganda – to provide episcopal oversight to the growing number of congregations seeking refuge in the Church of Uganda.

“The Church of Uganda is not creating a new Diocese in America,” said Archbishop Orombi.  “Rather, we look forward to the day when there will be a united and Biblically orthodox Anglicanism in America.”

In remarks after his consecration, Bishop Guernsey highlighted three hallmarks of the Church of Uganda that he hopes will become priorities among the American congregations – prayer, mission, and unity.  “We have too often seen in the U.S. a counterfeit unity around human institutions. But it is in Jesus, the only Savior, the only Lord, that we unite as sinners saved by grace.”

Bishop Guernsey added, “We must proclaim Jesus—both His unconditional love and acceptance, and also His transforming power to set us free and make us new. He heals all our brokenness. He redeems all our sin. That is the Good News we share.”