Bishop Christopher and the plight of Uganda

Dear Friends:

Rev. Richard Bolles, the author of the international bestseller “What Color is Your Parachute?” once said two unforgettable statements to me:

“You are living your vocation when everything you have ever done comes into play at this particular moment or on this particular task.”

“There are few heroes in the church. When you find one, you have got to take care of them.”
Some of my older friends know about my long relationship with Uganda where I worked with Archbishop Okoth to establish American funded AIDS prevention programs in 1991. One of his controversial contemporaries was Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, who allowed Christian polygamy in his diocese! Unlike other bishops who would require new Christians to choose one wife from his former traditional polygamous marriages, Christopher felt this practice was unjust and threw thousands of women and children into abject poverty. Following academic studies at Yale, he wrote his doctoral thesis on “Polygamy, Marriage and Divorce in Africa” in 1983.

In 2001, he became supportive of the LGBT community in Uganda, opening a counseling and pastoral care center that finally became Integrity’s first international project. As a straight ally and grandfather of 11 children he has emerged as a modern day hero for the progressive movement in the African church. He was recently a keynote speaker at an international conference of African LGBT people in South Africa and works closely with the Sexual Minorities Program in Uganda (SMUG). He remains a consistent theological and sexual outlaw, both persecuted and respected for his interpretation of scripture and his commitment to justice as a follower of Jesus. Working with him is both an honor and a renewal of my own vocation.

As a member of the Integrity Board with responsibility for this program in Uganda, I have invited Christopher to visit us and tell us his story and what his community needs in Uganda. We have heard about the anti-gay law that is before the Ugandan parliament and the visit of Lou Engle (May 2nd) to Kampala as the latest prophet of American fascism in a Christian disguise. As these powerful and well funded underground movements terrorize whole communities in the name of Christ, the American progressive community is being called upon to wake up and help to counter this latest phase in the culture war.

Christopher, (78) without a pension or spiritual support from his beloved Anglican Church of Uganda, is a modern day and unlikely hero who, in the words of Richard Bolles, deserves our support. He will be coming to San Diego on Sunday 16th May and I invite you to share his itinerary with your friends, congregations and plan to be with us for one of these events.

Best wishes,

The Rev Canon Albert Ogle

  • Reception with Bishop Christopher at the Park Manor Hotel 6-9 pm, Wed., May 19 – Meet Bishop Christopher in person and help support his ministry! (Free-will donations accepted).
  • Interfaith Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral – 6pm, Thurs, May 20 in the Cathedral – Bishop Ssenyonjo will preach at this Evensong as we welcome the local faith community and those who are working to make the church safe and welcoming for everyone.

More information on Bishop Christopher’s visit here (scroll down the page to see it)

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