OCMC News: The Gift of Peace and the Spread of Orthodoxy in Northern Uganda
OCMC – In northern Uganda, an area that has been decimated by war and is finally becoming more secure, “every day, everywhere you go, people are waiting to become Orthodox,” says Fr. Emmanuel Oruk. So many people want Orthodoxy in northern districts like Lira, Oyam, and Apad that it is difficult to minister effectively to all of them. Fr. Emmanuel, who recently visited the Orthodox Christian Mission Center in St. Augustine, FL., is one priest in the region who has been very instrumental in spreading the faith. After finishing his studies in Athens in 1994, he returned home just as OCMC’s first Mission Team to Uganda arrived to help build a church.
After the catechetical center in Uganda was established in 1995, Fr. Emmanuel was ordained in 1996. In the years that followed there was often political turmoil and war in the north of the country. Fr. Emmanuel notes that these obstacles have made ministry difficult. Over the last 4-5 years, though, there has been renewed hope that the climate will become more stable. The catechetical center has done its part to bring things back together and the Church has been able to provide relief for many in the area.
In Lira, where Fr. Emmanuel serves, a deanery was established through which missions and outreach are coordinated. There are not enough priests in the area, however, leaving many communities without one. Because of this, at least once a year, Fr. Emmanuel and his fellow priests try to travel and reach out to do baptisms where priests are scarce. Many communities still have to gather for services in homes or under trees. Four students from the Lira deanery are about to complete seminary training, with the intention to be ordained and serve the people.
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