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UCU signs lease agreement with Ankrah Foundation

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, has signed a Lease Agreement with Ankrah Foundation Limited.  The 10-year renewable lease will see UCU utilize the Ankrah Foundation facilities located on Besania Hill in Mukono.

“We shall use Ankrah Foundation’s state-of-the-art facilities for teaching, learning, research, and hostel,” said Prof. Mushengyezi.

He said the Ankrah Foundation Think-tank will work closely with the Africa Policy Center (APC) to further community engagements, research and knowledge generation.

Caption: Members present during the signing of the Agreement pose, after the meeting, at the premises of the Bishop Tucker Building at UCU.

In honor of their immense contribution to the establishment and development of the Planning, Development and Rehabilitation (PDR) in the Church of Uganda, UCU decided to name the hostel ‘Kodwo and Maxine Ankrah Hostel’. The other facilities will also be named Kodwo and Maxine Ankrah Training Centre.

The Managing Director of the Foundation, Prof. Maxine Ankrah, thanked UCU for remembering and honoring their effort to the development of the Church of Uganda.

“We sincerely thank you for this partnership and I promise that we shall work towards its success, and we will do everything possible to ensure that UCU and the rest of Africa benefit from it,” said Prof. Maxine.

Prof. Mushengyezi revealed that effective 2022, Prof. Maxine will join UCU as a visiting Professor, and she will closely work with the APC.

Prof. Maxine addressing some of the UCU top management during the meeting held at Nkoyoyo. Photo/ Jimmy.

Prof. Maxine is a widow to the late Canon Kodwo Ankrah, a Ghanaian who came to Uganda in the 1970s to start up PDR in the Church of Uganda.

According to a 2016 Uganda Church Association newsletter, Canon Ankrah was coordinator of PDR for over two decades. How did such a man, for whom the sky was the limit at World Council of Churches, and for whom attitude determined altitude in fast-track cities like Geneva, come to Mukono, then a small village 21km east of Kampala? Well, he was asked by two successive archbishops – Erica Sabiti in 1970 and Janani Luwum in 1974 – to come and lead PDR.

Loum: From grandmother’s bishop to Bishop of the Church

For a larger part of his childhood, Godfrey Loum’s grandmother called him Bishop. In fact, to immortalize the Bishop name, she named him after former Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum, in whose reign Loum was born. 

While the grandmother has passed away, her prophecy will come true on November 21, 2021, at St. Phillip’s Cathedral, Gulu district, in northern Uganda. Loum will be enthroned as the eighth Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Northern Uganda. 

Loum, who is currently the Vicar of Christ Church in Gulu, seems to be already prepared for the expectations. 

“It means from now on, I am going to be exposed and many people will be looking up to me, especially in the areas where I will be serving,” Loum, a Uganda Christian University (UCU) alum, said.  

The 49-year-old will take over from the Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba, who has been the bishop since 2009. The news of election by the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda was released in August.

Godfrey Loum
Caption: Godfrey Loum

Loum was ordained a deacon in 2007 and a priest the following year. Four years into priesthood, he assumed the role of chairperson of the House of Clergy, a position he holds to date. In the position, among his other duties, Loum is expected to convene meetings of House of Clergy.

During his tenure as bishop, the Rev. Loum looks forward to fishing more men. 

“I would want to see more people give their lives to Christ,” he said. 

Secondly, he hopes to bolster structures of the church in Gulu to be able to offer psychosocial support to members of the church and the community. 

From 1986, for two decades, there was insurgency in northern Uganda, arising from the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels led by Joseph Kony. Loum is targeting the people in the post-conflict northern Uganda, especially those who are still facing major depression disorders, to benefit from the psychosocial support program. 

Loum’s choice of program is not surprising. He specializes in psychology. Having both psychology and theological expertize is something Loum believes will help him understand people and their social environment better. Loum has authored a book on counseling – A Quick Guide to Premarital Counseling for Pastors and Couples.

Behind Loum’s rise to the apex of the Church of Uganda clergy is a series of events. While in secondary school at St. Joseph’s College Layibi, in northern Uganda, Loum was lured by a cousin into alcohol and smoking. He drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes so often that the habit became an addiction. 

Loum says he made several attempts to quit, but with not much success. For the few times he stopped, they did not last. 

Eventually, he found a spiritual remedy to his challenge of addiction. Loum went to church. On October 4, 1998, he did not only mark his 26th birthday, Loum also gave his life to Jesus Christ. 

“That day means everything to me,” he said. “It means a total turning point.” 

To this day, Loum is unashamed to share that difficult season of his life because of his strong belief in the power of testament. “If you let others know about what God has done for you, it offers great empowerment to them,” he says.

Loum graduated from UCU with Bachelor of Divinity in 2004. In 2019, he graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, also from UCU. That was his second MA, having acquired another in development studies at Cavendish University in Uganda a year before. 

Loum credits UCU’s training for preparing him to offer a double-edged ministry as pastor and counselor. He speaks fondly of Prof. Stephen Noll, the former UCU Vice Chancellor who was one of his lecturers, and the Rev. Can. Dr. John Senyonyi, who was the chaplain during the time of his undergraduate. Senyonyi eventually replaced Noll as the Vice Chancellor, a position he held from 2010 to 2020. 

Among Loum’s role models are Noll and Senyonyi – the former for his “deep knowledge of theology” and latter for his “oratory prowess that he often displayed on the pulpit.”

As Loum readies for his ordination in November, he looks back at his early life with nostalgia, especially about the conduct of his grandmother making it a point to call him her bishop, a prophesy that is about to pass. 

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UCU Chancellor Kaziimba commissions School of Dentistry equipment

By Dalton Mujuni and Jimmy Siyasa
The Most Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Chancellor of Uganda Christian University (UCU), on Thursday, October 21, 2021, commissioned medical equipment donated to the UCU School of Dentistry (SoD) by MidMark.

The commissioning served as an act of appreciation and official acknowledgement of use. More significant, perhaps, is that this ceremony signified that the SoD has overcome the threat of being closed down by regulators who in 2020 cited the facility for inappropriate infrastructure. The SoD’s new state-of-the-art equipment elevates the training facility, enabling it to nurture all-round dentists. 

The UCU Chancellor Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu prays over dental chairs donated by Midmark.
The UCU Chancellor Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu prays over dental chairs donated by Midmark.

In his remarks, Kaziimba expressed gratitude to the management of Mengo Hospital for accepting to house the University’s School of Dentistry. He called for respect towards the dentistry profession, saying whereas dentists do a great job in keeping teeth healthy, in Uganda, dentists are not as respected as other medical professionals and are even sometimes given demeaning nicknames.

At the event, UCU’s Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, said more than $700,000 (over sh2.5b) had been injected into setting up the modern facility. Mushengyezi said the regulator, the National Medical and Dental Practitioner’s Board, recently inspected and declared the school capable of training dental professionals.

Mushengyezi also commended MidMark for donating equipment worth sh1.46b ($397,855)  through UCU Partners, a US-based non-profit charitable organization that raises public awareness about UCU in the United States by seeking material and spiritual support for students through sponsorships.

Kaziimba unveiled the equipment donated by Midmak during the event. The equipment includes dental chairs, Phantom Lab damies, LED dental lights, a separator tank assembly, powervac P7 base, power air oil-less compressors and a Midmark M3 Steam Sterilizer.

“Dental equipment is very expensive, and so to be able to have five dental units, that is a very great boost for us as a School,” says Dr. James Magara, dean, UCU’s SoD. “We are grateful to Midmark for a very generous donation that they gave to us, which is setting us on our way to begin training students in the clinical practice of dentistry.”

Dr. James Magara poses with dentistry school students.
Dr. James Magara poses with dentistry school students.

UCU SoD not only trains native students, but also those from other countries around the continent. The equipment arranged through the Uganda Partners NGO and coming from North America was long awaited when it arrived over the summer. Hence, Dr. Magara believes “the impact of the [Midmark] donation is going to be felt throughout Africa.” 

David Magara (not related to the dean), a fourth-year student of Bachelor of Dental Surgery, said: “This technology makes us unique, compared to students in other institutions, given that we will be equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demand of the international market.” 

The UCU School of Dentistry started in 2018 as a department under the School of Medicine. In 2020, the department morphed into a school of its own. The school currently offers the Bachelor of Dental Surgery, with 24 students and 10 staff members.

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UCU acquires new ‘wheels’

The Uganda Christian University (UCU) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi has commissioned four cars and five motorbikes to facilitate and strengthen research and preaching of the gospel. The fleet include: a van, three double cabin pickups and five motorbikes.

The departments to benefit are: The School of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Chaplaincy, Church Relations and Facilities and Capital Projects. This is a major investment by the University, considering the economic crisis that has hit many universities.

“It is important for us to prioritise Chaplaincy and Church Relations because we are a Church founded institution. Whatever we do at UCU is ministry to the people of God and this country. This was the intention of the church when it established its University,” said Prof. Mushengyezi.

The Vice chancellor Prof. Mushengyezi makes a demonstration on one of the new motorbikes. Photo/ Siyasa

He added that the van will not only aid in building relationships but it will enhance outreach programs targeting the church and other partnerships.

“Not many institutions can think of something like this because they are waiting for normality. This is a testimony that where the LORD is present, blessings flow,” said David Mugawe, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration.

The cars will facilitate the Church Relations Department in strengthening relationship between the University and its founding body (The Church of Uganda).

The University Chaplain, Rev. Eng. Paul Wasswa, expressed gratitude to management’s support towards the work of God and said that they will improve coordination with chaplaincy offices in regional colleges and other UCU campuses.

Prof. Mushengyezi poses with staff of the UCU Chaplaincy and Church Relations office. Photo/Siyasa

The Church Relations Manager, Rev. Jasper Tumuhimbise, said that they are delighted to receive the van and it will enable them reach out to all dioceses in Uganda and equip the church.

The Dean of the School of Research and Post Graduate Studies, Prof. Elizabeth Kukunda Bacwayo, said that this will improve their activities which include: reaching out to UCU partners and building connections with the private sector, mother church, government and other universities in the field of research.

The rest of the cars and motorbikes were assigned to the Facilities and Capital Projects Directorate to aid in support services.

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UCU Sunday collections to finance building of ordinands’ apartments

By Dalton Mujuni
There has been a silent challenge among a unique section of Uganda Christian University (UCU) students. And, perhaps, if the university management had not mentioned it, not many people would have known.

While preaching during a service on September 26, 2021, UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi said some of the ordinands (person training to be part of clergy) who are at the institution are married and would wish that their spouses could visit them during weekends. However, that is not possible since they reside with other students. 

At the virtual service celebrated at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala to mark UCU Sunday, Mushengyezi mentioned a solution. The university intends to set up an apartment section for the ordinands and the clergy who will be resident students at the institution. 

In fact, Mushengyezi said sh400m (about $113,000) had already been secured for the project that is estimated to cost sh1.5b (about $424,000). 

In 2017, the Church of Uganda designated the last Sunday of September as a UCU Sunday in its province. Every Anglican church is expected to make financial collections on the UCU Sunday, to help in the running of the Church-founded institution.

Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi delivers sermon during the UCU Sunday service at Namirembe.
Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi delivers sermon during the UCU Sunday service at Namirembe.

According to the Church, on this Sunday, “each and every congregation in the whole province will receive a representative of Uganda Christian University who will be given time to speak about the university. Congregations will be given time and opportunity for prayer and financial support to the university.”

Mushengyezi noted that the ordinands need a supportive environment while transitioning into professional evangelists. 

Premising his call to the church to support the project on Nehemiah’s story of building the walls of Jerusalem, under the theme, “Arise, let us build the walls,” (Nehemiah: 2:18) the Vice Chancellor challenged Christians to contribute anything they can, to build on the foundation of Christ Jesus.  Collections during this year’s UCU Sunday will go towards Mushengyezi’s call.

The apartment complex is expected to house over 50 student clergy and ordinands. 

At the same event, the Vice Chancellor pledged to improve the university’s relationship with the Church. He said the university intends to hand over a van to the Church relations office to enable its staff to reach out to churches located upcountry. 

The Rev. Capt. Can. Titus Barrack, while leading the virtual service, shared his memory of university life at UCU, characterized by “inconvenience,” saying he and others studying to be priests often listened to worldly music within their places of residence. He implored the audience to rally behind the cause.

The 2020 UCU Sunday was greatly hampered by the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on churches in Uganda. The implication of churches operating virtually meant that the church collections reduced significantly, hence little to no return to UCU. However, in 2018, UCU collections amounting to sh300m were injected into building the infrastructure at the UCU School of Medicine in Mengo, Kampala. 

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