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.
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.