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Church responds to parishioners’ needs

When the Catholic Church completed Mapeera house with internally generated funds, Centenary bank achieved an important milestone for a church, under which it was founded.

And not to be outdone, the Anglican Church, through its respective parishes, has followed suit with massive projects in response to the increase in numbers of worshippers. After decades of waiting, construction of the Church House on Kampala road is finally moving on smoothly, according to Canon Engineer Perez Wamburu, the CEO of Church Commissioner Holding Company Limited, a company set up by the Church of Uganda to undertake the project.

“The Church House is set to have 16 levels and we are already at level 13,” Wamburu told The Observer.

The project estimated to cost $16m will house commercial banks, shops and offices, to generate money for the church. With Equity Bank financing 70% of the project through a syndicated loan and the church financing 30%, the building next to Crane Chambers is set to be commissioned by March 1, 2013 according to Wamburu.

That aside, All Saints cathedral in Kampala diocese is building a new church complex which according to Andrew Pacutho, the communications officer of the All Saints Cathedral Building Project team (ACP), will fulfill the worshippers’ desire to have enough space. The retired Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyooyo started the drive to build a new cathedral.

The ACP team was formed in March 2009 and according to Julius Twesigye, the project coordinator, the cathedral will be built in phases at an estimated cost of Shs 26bn.

“The first phase which is the basement, underground parking and slab was to be built at Shs 5.8bn, while the second phase was budgeted for Shs 4.8bn; the eventual finishing was estimated at Shs 13bn,” Twesigye said.

The first phase which commenced in December 2010 is about to end, thanks to the parishioners’ resolve.

“Every time we asked for support in terms of funds, the parishioners responded in great numbers with [huge] amounts of money. This shows that the church of Uganda is a people church,” he said.

The church also has other projects, among which is the Ttegula project. Under Namirembe diocese, this project was undertaken to rehabilitate St Paul’s cathedral, which in its 93-year history had never been renovated. According to Irene Lugonvu, coordinator of the Ttegula project, the project derived its codename from the Luganda word ttegula, which means tile.

In order to encourage everybody to make quantifiable contributions, the concept of a unit ttegula was conceived. Under this concept, everyone can contribute by way of buying multiple units (or ttegulas) with each going for Shs 10,000.

The project was estimated to cost Shs 2.5bn and it was to be executed in three phases with the first phase consisting of repairing the roof and dome, while the second phase would deal with the walls, electrical and mechanical installations. The third phase will involve the cathedral’s floor.

However, the Ttegula project has faced a number of challenges, according to Lugonvu.

“Each parish under Namirembe diocese was supposed to contribute its quota but funds have been slow in coming,” she said.

“The consultant also underestimated the scope of the work. It was later discovered that the cathedral required serious repairs like replacing the rotten timber in the roof and working on the sophisticated copper dome which required laboratory testing to be undertaken.”

This, coupled with the bidding process, sourcing of the companies, the consultants and heavy rains, has delayed the first phase, thus raising the overall cost of the project. Nevertheless, according to Lugonvu, over 50 per cent of work on the roof has been completed and she is optimistic they will finish the rest within the stipulated time.

Other projects include St James church located on the Makerere University Business School premises. When completed, the church will accommodate about 800 to 1,000 people. Bukoto parish is also constructing a new church, St Andrew’s church. When completed, it will be a 2,500-seater sanctuary.

d.ogwang@ymail.com

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