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.
“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).
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.