Thousands of people flocked to St. Philip’s Cathedral in Gulu on Sunday, 21st November 2021, for the consecration and enthronement of the Rt. Rev. Godfrey Loum as the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba presided over the colourful service with many Bishops in attendance as well as political and cultural leaders.
Retired Archbishop Henry Orombi preached from Mark 4:35ff. “In life there will always be storms,” he said. “Remember Jesus is in the boat with you.”
Jesus speaks to the wind and calms storms because He is Creator God, Almighty God. He brings peace because he is the Prince of Peace. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Bishop Orombi charged the new Bishop to
· Be a Messenger of God, who heals and provides;
· Be a Shepherd to all people and to bless them, not to curse them;
· Be a peacemaker when so many families are experiencing conflicts;
· Run well with the baton you have received from Bishop Johnson Gakumba;
· Respect the elders and receive wisdom from them.
Retiring Bishop Johnson Gakumba thanked the many people who have supported him in his vision of lifting up the Diocese in the immediate post-war season.
The newly consecrated Bishop Loum recognized that the war had been over for at least ten years, but was still inside families through long-term trauma and invisible wounds that have led to increased alcoholism and addictions to try to medicate the pain. Increased crime, Gender-based violence, and land grabbing are further signs of the long-term impact of trauma. He called the dependency mindset a disabling culture that could only be defeated by a mindset change.
Quoting 2 Tim 4:1-2, he committed himself to “Preach the Word; to be prepared in season and out of season. To correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” He pledged the following:
· Help people overcome the bondage to anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness;
· Teach lifeskills for youth to meet their own needs;
· Promote workable strategies of crime prevention;
· Support resettlement of prisoners;
· Resolve underlying issues of land grabbing;
· Mentor children and youth
· Partner with government, especially in the Parish Development Model;
· Promote the Biblical view of marriage as one man and one woman in faithful and monogamous relationship;
· Equip families to build a “family altar” so the Word of God can bring hope and healing;
· Encourage Christians to faithful stewardship to support clergy welfare and provide decent housing for them;
· Promote ICT in Gospel proclamation and ministry.
Ultimately, he committed himself to remain obedient to the authority of Scripture. He assured the church and community that they will reject any misinterpretations of Scripture.
Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, the Speaker of Parliament, represented His Excellency, the President of Uganda, as the Chief Guest. He appealed to the Acholi to unite and to defeat the breakdown of unity and reclaim Acholi culture of mutual support among the people. He reminded them that they are their “brother’s keeper,” quoting from the book of Genesis.
The President donated a vehicle to the newly consecrated Bishop to facilitate his pastoral work. It will be delivered to Gulu in early December 2021.