UCU Sunday



UCU Sunday: Christians pray, give to university

By Irene Best Nyapendi
Every last Sunday of September, Anglican churches in Uganda commemorate a Uganda Christian University (UCU) Sunday (UCU Sunday). UCU Sunday was established in 2017 by the Church of Uganda Bishops with three objectives: to pray for UCU; to mobilize financial resources to support UCU projects, especially infrastructure; and to raise awareness about the university. This tradition spans across Uganda, with every Church of Uganda participating.

On Sept. 24, 2023, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the UCU Vice Chancellor, prayed at All Saints Cathedral Kampala and thanked the congregation for supporting the university.

“We would like to join you to thank God for our provincial university — your prayers and unwavering support have brought forth miraculous transformations at UCU,” Prof. Mushengyezi said.

Prof. Mushengyezi reaffirmed the university’s role to continue training clergy for the Church of Uganda. Every year, the university admits two students from each diocese in the country and sponsors their theological training. 

The congregation prays for Uganda Christian University at Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe in Kampala. Anglican churches throughout the country dedicate the last Sunday of September to pray for UCU and learn about developments at the Church-founded university.
The congregation prays for Uganda Christian University at Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe in Kampala. Anglican churches throughout the country dedicate the last Sunday of September to pray for UCU and learn about developments at the Church-founded university.

“We also sponsor children of clergy who are struggling to pay tuition fees,” he said. “In 2022, we supported 22 students. Above all, we thank God that we have continued operating. And God is with us.”

This year’s UCU Sunday was themed “United for service and growth in Christ.” The amount raised in 2023 should be known by late November. 

UCU’s Church Relations Manager, Rev. Richard Mulindwa, introduced four strategic focus areas: scholarship schemes for clergy children; scholarships for the clergy; continuous training for the clergy; and infrastructure development, namely construction of the ordinands’ apartments. An ordinand is a person training to be a priest or church minister. The ordinands’ apartments will accommodate over 50 theology students at the university.

Rev. Mulindwa said as of last year, about sh400 million (about $113,000) had been fundraised for the ordinand apartment project’s estimated need of sh8.5billion (over $2.2million).

“Once the necessary funds are secured, construction will commence, further facilitating the university’s expansion,” Rev. Mulindwa said.

The Vicar of Saint Paul’s cathedral Namirembe Cathedral, Rev. Abraham Nsubuga Muyinda, urged church members to donate generously to UCU.

“We have to put our hands together and support our own university as we see it go to greater heights and continue to excel because it is the Centre of Excellence in the Heart of Africa,” he  said.

He said UCU couldn’t be a great university unless Christians collectively contributed funds and supported it as the Lord guided them. He emphasized that supporting the institution was crucial as many religious leaders, such as him, have been shaped by the university.

The UCU chaplain, Rev. Canon Eng. Paul Wasswa Ssembiro, preached at Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe in Kampala. He highlighted the divine calling and need for equipping leaders in the church and discouraged competition among them. He instead encouraged participation in ministry.

“It is important for us to know that our unity comes from our identity,” he said. “We are one in Christ and so our attitude towards believers should be that of unity.”

Rev. Canon Ssembiro told the Christians that their generous giving bore fruits during the July graduation where of 1,006 graduates, 45 were pioneer students of medicine and nine from dentistry. The buildings established for  the schools of medicine and dentistry were made possible by  sh300 million (about $79,275) that was collected on the 2018 UCU Sunday. 

“On behalf of UCU, I thank you for your generosity over the years,” Rev. Ssembiro said. “It is through it that we have the UCU schools of medicine and dentistry, and it was our joy to see our pioneer students graduate this year in July.”

What others say about the UCU Sunday

Martha Kobusinge and Moses Isebo, Christians at Namirembe Cathedral, expressed appreciation for the UCU Sunday information that educates those who aren’t affiliated with UCU. 

 “It’s through such days that we get to know what happens at UCU, the programs offered and the developments there,” Kobusinge said.

“I give to UCU as a service to God because it’s founded by the Church of Uganda,” Isebo said.

Of UCU (September 25) Sunday

By Irene Best Nyapendi
It is that time of the year, again, when representatives of Uganda Christian University (UCU), take time off to spread the gospel about the institution. Named the UCU Sunday, the day, celebrated every last Sunday of September, was set aside by the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, for the province to hold prayers for the church-founded institution.

In addition to the prayers, the UCU Sunday, which will be celebrated on Sunday, September 25, is intended to mobilize support and resources for various activities at UCU, as well as create awareness about developments at the institution. 

Speaking about the objective of this year’s UCU Sunday, UCU Chaplain, the Rev. Canon Eng. Paul Wasswa Ssembiro, said it is three-fold. 

Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu
Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu

“Our main objective this year is to pray for the institution, support clergy students through scholarship and also construct the Ordinands Apartment,” Ssembiro said. 

UCU is currently working with the 37 dioceses, alumni, the university’s guild government and students in preparation for the day. UCU Sunday first took place in 2017.

The Ordinands Apartments is intended to accommodate clergy students at the university. The apartment is expected to house more than 50 ordinands. An ordinand is a person training to be a priest or a church minister. Richard Mulindwa, the Church Relations Manager at UCU, noted that theology students require a calm environment to focus on God. 

“At the moment, the students are residing in the same halls of residence with other students, which is not ideal for their concentration,” Mulindwa said. 

UCU Council Chairperson on UCU Sunday

While preaching at a virtual UCU Sunday service last year, UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi explained the reason for the Ordinands Apartments. He said some of the ordinands are married and would wish that their spouses could visit them during weekends. However, that is not possible since they reside with other students. 

Last year’s service, which was virtual due to a ban on gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus, was celebrated at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala. That ban on physical gatherings in church has since been lifted due to the waning number of Covid-19 infections globally. 

Recently, Prof. Mushengyezi said UGX 400m (about $113,000) had already been secured for the apartment project that is estimated to cost UGX 8.5b (over $2.2m).

Ordinands apartment

The UCU Chancellor, Archbishop Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, appealed to Christians to take part in the UCU Sunday. He called upon the flock to support the project under the theme “Arise, let us build the walls” (Nehemiah 2:18). Kaziimba also emphasized that ordinands need a supportive environment while pursuing their dreams of being professional evangelists. 

Collections for the past UCU Sunday events have been used to implement a number of projects at the institution. For instance, the UGX 300 million that was collected for the UCU Sunday of 2018 was invested in building the UCU School of Medicine at Mengo in Kampala. Unlike public universities that get financial support from the central government, private universities in Uganda, in which category UCU falls, are run on tuition fees paid by students. 

American donations can be made through the Uganda Partners Web site donation button at https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/. Put “UCU Sunday” in the comment box.