On November 1, Watoto Church Central’s hundreds of devout worshippers bid His Grace, the Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, outgoing archbishop of the Church of Uganda, farewell.
But it was no ordinary farewell; it was a praise, worship and thanksgiving fest. On the stage, dancing green, red and blue lights created an ethereal appearance, a perfect backdrop of the choir that swayed to the melody of praise.
Gradually, the praise songs dissolved into worship, bringing many of the congregants’ hands waving in the air. Spectacular. Then suddenly, the lights went off and silence prevailed. It was time to welcome the guest of the night.
A deafening applause followed when the archbishop was introduced. Then Pastor Gary Skinner, founder of Watoto ministries, stepped up to welcome Orombi and his wife, Phoebe.
“I know that you know that the archbishop and his wife Phoebe have served diligently in the Church of Uganda and it’s good to give honour to him who it’s due,” Skinner said, before handing him a silver tea jar, cups and a book.
Shortly after, Orombi delved into the night’s sermon. Orombi, drawing his sermon from Isaiah 6, castigated the evils of corruption, divisionism and immorality.
“Corruption didn’t start in parliament. Haven’t you seen a baby suckling one breast and yet he has his hand on the other?” he asked tearing the congregation into laughter. “Now tell me if that is not corruption. Sin and corruption are in our flesh.”
He also warned brethren against pride which is dividing the church, and the need to be in constant repentance.
“I speak of my country with a broken heart because of the immoral things we are starting to cherish. One time, I was booked in a hotel room and as I was leaving, I found condoms in the drawers. The message was clear: just in case the archbishop needs them too.”
“For fifty-two Sundays in a year, many Christians go to church, sit in the pews, their hallelujah is high-pitched but it is heart-breaking to see them walk out the same way they came in.”
“Young people, commit your sexual organs to the Lord. He does not need your money, but He needs you. Your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
Who is Orombi?
Henry Luke Orombi, born October 11, 1949, has served as archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda since 2004. He was due to retire in 2014, but announced his intention to leave his post earlier than expected, in December last year. Therefore in July, the House of Bishops elected Masindi Kitara bishop, Stanley Ntagali, to take over from him.
On why he is retiring earlier than his time, the very charismatic Orombi said: “When an assignment is finished, move on and don’t waste your time and other people’s time. I have another burden and have to move on.”