Thursday, November 26, 2009

A history lesson lest we forget

Read more here. We also remember Bishop Janani Luwum, who's martyrdom set off a revival that continues to this day in Uganda. In addition to the Uganda Martyrs of the 1880s, Bishop Janani is also remember by the Church of England as a martyr. "Janani Luwum was survived by a widow, Mary Lawinyo Luwum and nine children. He was buried at his home village of Mucwini in the Kitgum District. He is recognised as a martyr by the Church of England and his death is commemorated on 17 February as a Lesser Festival. His statue is among the Twentieth Century Martyrs on the front of Westminster Abbey in London." Read it all here.

Bishop Festo Kivengere had a huge impact on my life when he was in exile following the persecution of the Anglican Church in Uganda by Idi Amin. He preached at Truro when I was in college and his talk changed my life. Here is a sample of Bishop Festo's preaching:

Bishop Festo Kivengere, (1919-1988) was a Ugandan, Anglican-Christian leader referred to by many as "the Billy Graham of Africa"

He played a huge role in a Christian revival in Southwestern Uganda, but had to flee in 1973 to neighboring Rwanda in fear for his life after speaking out against Idi Amin's tyrannical behavior.

Kivengere had been made bishop of Kigezi and was among several bishops summoned to Amin's quarters. Angry mobs called for their deaths. Eventually, all were permitted to leave but one, the archbishop, Janani Luwum. The others waited for Luwum to join them but he never came out. The next day the government announced that Luwum had died in an automobile accident. Four days later, despite government threats, 45,000 Ugandans gathered in the Anglican cathedral in Kampala for a memorial service honoring their fallen leader. Kivengere could not attend the service having been urged to flee Uganda by friends who said, "One dead bishop is enough," he and his wife that night drove as far as their vehicle could take them and with the help of local church people in the hills they walked until the next morning brought them to safety across the border in Rwanda.

John Sentamu, then an attorney who advocated judicial independence, was also persecuted by Idi Amin and fled Uganda for England in 1974. He was later ordained and today is the Archbishop of York.

He later authored the book "I Love Idi Amin" to emphasize the qualities of forgiveness for those who wronged you and love of those who persecute you. Kivengere stated, "On the cross, Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, because they know not what they do.' As evil as Idi Amin is, how can I do less toward him?"


Anam Cara said...

Might I also suggest that you view the videos on youtube:

These are the video "Beyond Torture"

Frederica Mathewes_Green who will be at Truro on 6 December refers to this video in one of her posts.

Fr. George Calciu (in the video) was a priest at an Orthodox Church right here in Alexandria

Anam Cara said...

In another post she talks about the video As We Forgive about Rwanda.

Anam Cara said...

These are all things we should never forget!!!

rajm said...

Luwum was not murdered until 1977 which is when Kivengere fled Uganda - he (Kivengere) was though in the UK in 1973

BabyBlue said...

I know that John Sentamu fled in 1974. He is now the Archbishop of York.


Faith McDonnell said...

Wow, BB! I didn't know that there were actually photos of the Ugandan Martyrs. I wrote about them in my book Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda's Children, and also about Archbishop Janani.
Anan Cara: Thanks for heads up about Frederica. I didn't know that Frederica knew Father Calciu. I knew Father Calciu. I remember when Congressmen Frank Wolf, Chris Smith, and Tony Hall secured his release from prison in Romania by threatening to take away MFN from Romania at that time.

richard bwogi said...

Nobody preached like you Bishop. Death snatched away from us the best preacher of all time. Rest in peace. You are greatly missed.