Church of Uganda Disassociates Herself from Christopher Ssenyonjo

March 24, 2006

Church of Uganda Disassociates herself from Christopher Ssenyonjo:

Statement by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

24th March 2006

On 15th March 2006 I and all the people of Uganda woke up to read in The New Vision that Christopher Ssenyonjo, the second Bishop of West Buganda Diocese, had a new “Archbishop called Howard” in America, had formed a new denomination called the Charismatic Church of Uganda, and had consecrated a bishop.

I regret that Ssenyonjo did not have the courtesy to contact me personally about his decision to abandon the Church of Uganda and seek a new Archbishop.  Our church canons (church laws) provide for a Bishop to relinquish the exercise of ordained ministry when he affiliates with another religious body not in communion with the Church of Uganda.  When, however, a Bishop does not do that, our canons stipulate that he has abandoned the Church of Uganda.

I have, therefore, written to Christopher Ssenyonjo informing him that I, along with the Provincial Chancellor, the Honourable Ezekiel Muhanguzi, have presumed that he has abandoned the Church of Uganda.

Four years ago, in 2002, the retired Archbishop, on behalf of the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, wrote Ssenyonjo depriving him of vesting and laying on of hands.

In light of Ssenyonjo’s decision to establish a rebel denomination and consecrate his own bishops, we are obliged to warn our fellow Ugandans of the spiritual danger at hand.

* Ssenyonjo’s new denomination, the Charismatic Church of Uganda, has no relationship with the Church of Uganda.  We don’t know who the “Archbishop called Howard” in America is.  We cannot verify his testimony.  I, therefore, urge the people of Uganda to not become confused by the similarity of the name.  The Church of Uganda completely disassociates herself from Ssenyonjo and his new denomination.
* Christopher Ssenyonjo has been denied the right to exercise the office of a bishop or retired bishop in the Church of Uganda, including the spiritual authority as a minister of the Word and Sacraments.
* He is no longer entitled to wear the robes of a deacon, priest, or bishop in the Church of Uganda.  If you see him in a purple shirt and clerical collar, or the robes of a bishop, he is only pretending to be a bishop.  But, he is no longer a bishop of the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to use the title Bishop Ssenyonjo, as if he were still a Bishop in the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to preach, speak, or greet congregations in the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to preside at weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations, ordinations or Holy Communion in the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to pronounce the absolution of sin or the blessing of God Almighty in congregations of the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to participate in consecration of bishops in the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to participate in any liturgical celebration or function of the Church of Uganda.
* He is no longer entitled to represent the Church of Uganda locally, nationally, or internationally.

Furthermore, as our canons prescribe, we have advised all civil authorities in Uganda that any licence held by Ssenyonjo for which his ordination in the Church of Uganda was an indispensable qualification shall now be null and void.

A church or denomination formed in rebellion, such as Ssenyonjo’s Charismatic Church of Uganda, can only foster more rebellion among its members.  The sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was the sin of rebellion against God.  I want to pastorally warn the people of Uganda that participating in a church founded on rebellion can be spiritually dangerous and is unlikely to lead people in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

For at least six years, Ssenyonjo has persisted in openly misrepresenting the teachings of Scripture.  In so doing, he has been misleading the public on the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the historic teaching of the church on human sexuality that the Church of Uganda and the vast majority of the Christian world uphold.

The Bible is very clear that sexual intimacy is reserved for a husband and wife in a lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous marriage.  We are committed to offering the Gospel to absolutely everyone, including those who feel marginalised and confused about their sexuality and those struggling with homosexuality.  For us in Uganda pastoral care means leading people into the fully transformed life – including a transformed sexuality – that Jesus promises to those who call upon his name.

To the woman caught in adultery Jesus did not say, “Go and sin some more.”  He said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”  Freedom from condemnation and freedom from sin – that is Good News and the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we in the Church of Uganda proclaim.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF UGANDA.