Setting the Record Straight about Christopher Ssenyonjo
Christopher Ssenyonjo was the second Bishop of West Buganda Diocese and retired in August 1999.
The mainstream media continues to perpetuate misinformation about the 2007 defrocking of Christopher Ssenyonjo. This statement seeks to set the record straight.
In a July 2008 letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi explained, “After following due canonical process, I was forced in January 2007 to depose him [Christopher Ssenyonjo] as a Bishop in the Church of Uganda for presiding at the consecration as bishop of a Church of Uganda priest under discipline for moral failure who was being consecrated in a denomination of his own called Charismatic Church of Uganda. One of the bishops assisting in the consecration is the also-defrocked Church of Uganda Bishop from N. Mbale – defrocked because he took a second wife.
“Of course, we do not approve of Christopher Ssenyonjo’s support for the organization Integrity, nor do we support his teaching on homosexuality. But, that was not why he was deposed. He was deposed because he set himself up as an Archbishop and recruited a defrocked Ugandan Bishop as a co-consecrator to consecrate a morally compromised man as a bishop of an independent church.”
The 2006 Press Release about the incident and the newspaper article reporting the incident are found below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24th March 2006
Church of Uganda Disassociates herself from Christopher Ssenyonjo:
Statement by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda
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.
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 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.
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF UGANDA.
Bishop Ssenyonjo forms new church
Wednesday, 15th March, 2006
BACK: Ssenyonjo (seated) enthrones Tusuubira (kneeling) at the church on Saturday
By Henry Mutebi
Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, excommunicated from the Church of Uganda, has formed a new church at Wamala near Nansana in Wakiso district.
Ssenyonjo inaugurated the Charismatic Church of Uganda on Sunday and consecrated Bishop Christopher Lwanga Tusuubira to administer its pastoral work.
Formerly retired Bishop of West Buganda Diocese, Sssenyojo was banned by the mainstream church from preaching on its pulpits for openly supporting homosexuals. This was after the 1998 Lambeth Conference of world Anglican bishops where some white bishops supported gays and advocated for their recognition by the church, a bid which left the church split over the issue.
Ssenyonjo said he got the permission to open the church from their Archbishop called Howard in America where their main headquarters and donors are based.
He promised not to antagonise the mainstream churches and pledged cordial working relations with their leaders.
The new church has branches in different parts of the country and bishops including, Nathan Muwombi in charge of Mbale and Hannington Bahemuka of Bundibugyo.