Magazine article Anglican Journal

Ugandan Bishop, People `Going through Pain'

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Ugandan Bishop, People `Going through Pain'

Article excerpt

The lines of agony and loss are etched deeply into the face of 62-year old MacLeord Baker Ochola. He is not a bitter man. War has devastated his land and people. His wife was torn apart by a landmine in May of last year, his daughter died in the face of terrorists.

Nevertheless, the Bishop of Kitgum in Northern Uganda remains resolute in the face of suffering and pain. He is not alone. His people share his grief and loss. Above all else Bishop Ochola knows that God has walked with him through the valley of the shadow of death and he fears no evil.

"We are going through our pain together," he said in an interview at Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, PA, which is where he came to preach on Persecuted Church Sunday (Nov. 8).

He came to shatter the silence. "Enough is enough. This 12-year-old war must end," he cried from the pulpit. "On one day alone 400 of my people were massacred. All were Christians," he said, the tears welling up in his eyes.

"Everybody in my diocese is traumatized. People are dying in war, of famine, malnutrition, drought, diseases, and we have moral problems resulting in large numbers of people dying of AIDS. On top of this, some 360,000 refugees have poured into the Sudan, 140,000 of whom are Christians. They are looking for safety and food. Our resources are few. Livelihoods and livestock are exhausted. We need help."

However, the bishop is not allowing the circumstances of his life to defeat him. He sees hope. Eighty per cent of the six million people in Uganda are now Christian (20 per cent are Muslim). Forty-five per cent are Anglican and 51 per cent are Roman Catholic. They work together where they can to resolve the massive problems they face daily in their land-locked country. Militancy is not a problem in the northern part of the country. "Our priests bury three to five people every day from starvation," said the bishop. …

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