Rt Rev Bahemuka William,
Bishop - Diocese of Boga
August 22, it is making a year since I am the Bishop of Boga Diocese, in the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo. Boga Diocese was created in 1972 out of Rwenzori Diocese in Uganda. The Anglican Church in Congo was introduced in 1896 by Apollo Kivebulaya, a Ugandan Missionary supported by Church Mission Society through a small village called Boga. I am the forth Bishop of the Diocese after respectively Rt Rev. Isingoma Kahwa Henri, Rt Rev Njojo Byankya Patrice and Rt Rev Philip Ridsdale.
Being a Bishop after a year is like being a soccer striker after 10 minutes of the game. He is moving up and down to get familiarized with the adversary, the play ground, the referee and the supporters. After carefully making the study of all those factors, he sets strategy to score, and then the game will be a win, a draw or a loss. The 22 of August, instead of celebrating, I
was planning, with fear and trembling! Where I am heading to in Boga Diocese? To a win, a draw or a loss! I am playing in Jesus’ team, the win is for sure but not taken for granted. It requires discipline, hard work, in fact built on faith. Paul says, “I fought a good fight”.
What are the challenges of one year as a Bishop? What are the factors we need to consider for a win? These are the questions I need to answer after a year as a Bishop and draw a strategic plan for the Diocese.
I have a farming background; my father was doing agriculture and animal keeping. The animal keeper needs to have in memory the number of cows he is looking after. How many are heifers, bulls, calves, mother cows. A good farmer knows by one sight that there is a cow missing. No wonder Jesus used the example of a shepherd and his flock. Allow me to confess that as a chief shepherd, I have not been able to know with accuracy my flock. May be numbering is not an African culture! I feel ashamed when I am asked how many church members I do have. I give evasive, inaccurate estimates: about fifty thousand!. Don’t ask me how many are youth, how many are men, how many are women. My answer will be, the majority are women, youth and children. How many are farmers, traders, civil servants, that I totally ignore. That is a great failure I scored after a year. How can I plan without knowing the numbers? I can only do guess work, and score off goal.
Another number dilemma is about money, that has made me have sleepless nights and my blood pressure has gone a bit high? The problem is not only the lack of money, or the misuse of money. To me, the problem is the absence of numbering, the uncoordinated use of money and negative attitude.
Allow me to illustrate this by a live example of last month. I went to one of my Parish on the 14th for confirmation. They built a new pastors’ house, renovated the church, organized a big reception to the first Bishop’s visit and offered me a cow. The total cost of all that would be more than $ 2,000. But that is recorded no where in the account books, if there are any books.
We used $ 50 to buy fuel and other car expenses. The total collection of that service was less that $ 30 and the pastor complained about insufficient salary that does not exceed $ 10 and blame the “Diocese”. Here the Diocese means the structure that gets grants and donations. Thank God that we have brothers and sisters whom God uses to sincerely and genuinely support us. But the devil has used that charity into a mind blinding force to our people. I am not saying we should not be helped, but now we need to be helped help ourselves.