The Anglican Church, Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church of Uganda, the member churches of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) routinely conduct joint ecumenical prayers where priests from the three churches take turns to preach on the same pulpit.
This has not been possible for members of the other churches such as the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) that don’t share the same history as the Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics and Anglicans.
The three churches were united under the same communion until the great schism of 1054 that split the Church into the Eastern rite (Orthodox Catholicism) and the Western rite (Roman Catholicism).
The Western church was further split in 1534 when King Henry VIII declared himself the supreme head of the Church of England, giving birth to the Anglican communion.
They are, however, still united by the same creed or proclamation of faith popularly known as the Nicene Creed. While much of its theology corresponds with the common Christian teachings, it is rare for the SDA church with its observance of Saturday as the day of the Sabbath, and non-observance of Christmas and Easter festivities, to share the same pulpit with the ‘traditional’ churches.
However, during a thanksgiving for NRM treasurer Rose Namayanja Nsereko and her mother Catherine Namirembe Ssebowa at Kalagi in Nakaseke district on October 29, the Adventists stood at the same pulpit with Anglicans to lead prayers.
Namayanja was born and raised Anglican, but converted to the Adventist church during her high school days at Katikamu SDA Secondary School, while her mother remains a committed member of the Anglican church.
Choirs from both churches took turns to sing during the service led by Pastor Samuel Kajoba, the bishop of Central Uganda Conference.
Once he was done with his sermon, Kajoba invited Rev Canon Henry Ampujja Tebagaliza of the Church of Uganda to preach to the congregation.
Being the only family member who subscribed to the SDA church, Namayanja had to allow her mother’s church to participate in the prayers.
“Mum has always been a member of Mayirikiti Church of Uganda and when we moved her nearer to Kampala for better medical care, she became a member of Migadde Church of Uganda; for this thanksgiving, she chose to give back to her church,” Namayanja said as she handed over 50 iron sheets to re-roof Mayirikiti Church of Uganda.
To her own church, Namayanja offered Shs 6m for rehabilitation of the baptism pond at Najjanankumbi SDA church. Sunday’s thanksgiving was to mark two years since they were involved in a nasty road accident at Kigoogwa along the Kampala - Bombo highway on October 20, 2015.
Namayanja was rushing to her home village to preside over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Biddabuggya health centre.
The health centre has since been taken on by her charity organisation, Rose Namayanja Foundation.
“I am a product of good Samaritans and because of their contribution to my success, I have a responsibility to help others to improve their livelihoods,” Namayanja said.
The former Information and National Guidance minister spoke about their time in hospital, especially the trauma they suffered when news went out that she had passed on.
While the function threatened to take a political turn, the chief guest, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah ensured that it remained within the ambit of the Church.
Using the accident that Namayanja survived, Oulanyah preached about the mysteries of God.
“Accident is a human definition, not for God. For God, there is no accident but everything is planned. There are very many things that we will never know, which means that we have to commit everything in our lives to God,” Oulanyah said.
Besides the material possessions, the Omoro MP told the congregation, man also needs to commit his life to God instead of remembering God after an event has happened.
“When news of Namayanja’s ‘death’ came, we prayed that she rests in eternal peace; then it emerged that she hadn’t died, the prayer changed to her quick recovery and when we heard that she was recovering, the prayer again changed,” Oulanyah said. “This shows that our prayer is event-based.”
He later joined Namayanja and her mother to cut a cake made in the image of the wreckage of the car they were traveling in when they got involved in the accident.