Key Questions About Enthronement of Archbishop Answered

By Dr. Annette Kezaabu 

Dear Members, I greet you in the Precious Name of Jesus Christ. As the Chair of The Publicity and Documentation Subcommittee of the Enthronement of the Archbishop of Church of Uganda, I am glad to share with you this information on the Event. 

What is this event all about? It is about the Enthronement of Archbishop-elect Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu as9th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda on 1st March 2020

1. When is the enthronement? Sunday, 1st March 2020, 10 a.m.

2. What is an “enthronement”? When a Bishop or an Archbishop is installed and vested with the spiritual authority over a particular jurisdiction, it is called an “enthronement.” So, the enthronement service is the ceremony in which the outgoing Archbishop transfers spiritual authority to the incoming Archbishop by handing over the pastoral staff, and the Bishops of the Church guide the new Archbishop to his Provincial Chair.

  Every Bishop has a special chair, which in Latin is called a cathedra. A cathedra literally means a chair with armrests. In the Church, this special chair or cathedra is a symbol of the teaching authority of the Bishop.

The church building in which the cathedra resides is called the Cathedral. Often times, the cathedra is a large chair, slightly elevated above other chairs, and has thus been sometimes described as a “throne.” Thus, when a Bishop is installed in a Diocese and vested with spiritual authority over that jurisdiction, it is sometimes described as an “enthronement.”

3. Where is the Archbishop’s Cathedral? The Archbishop has two cathedrals. He is the Bishop of Kampala Diocese and his Diocesan Cathedral is All Saints’ Cathedral, Nakasero. He also has a Provincial Cathedral, which is St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe. St. Paul’s Cathedral is also the Diocesan Cathedral for Namirembe Diocese, who has its own Bishop.

4.   Why is an Enthronement of an Archbishop significant? The Church of Uganda is an independent province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is the world’s third-largest family of churches, after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It has 85 million members spread throughout 165 countries.

The Church of Uganda is the second largest Province among all the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, with more than 13 million members, which is a little more than one-third the population of Uganda. The Archbishop is the senior leader of the entire Church of Uganda and the chief spokesman for the Church.  As Archbishop, he participates in global leadership meetings. 

5.   Who is expected to attend the Archbishop’s Enthronement? Since the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda is a significant national leader, the service of enthronement will be attended by the President and First Lady, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, the Speaker of Parliament and many other government leaders.

Leading businessmen and businesswomen will be in attendance, along with all the Bishops of the Church of Uganda. Likewise, many Archbishops and Bishops from other Anglican Provinces from around the world will be present – from North America to Australia, from Nigeria to Kenya. Clergy and friends of the new Archbishop will also be present. Lay leaders from the Church of Uganda will also be present. In all, we are preparing for 3,000 – 7,000 people.

.   What will happen at the Archbishop’s enthronement? The service of enthronement will be a regular worship service with readings from the Bible, a sermon, and Holy Communion. In addition to that, the outgoing Archbishop will handover the Provincial Staff – a symbol of the Archbishop’s spiritual authority – to the new, incoming Archbishop.

The Archbishop will renew his vows, and the Bishops will also pledge canonical obedience to him. The Bishops will guide the new Archbishop to his Provincial Chair and place him on the Chair, symbolizing that they elected him to lead them and the entire Church of Uganda. The new Archbishop will read his Charge – a kind of manifesto and vision for his ministry, leadership, and strategic direction. 

Who is preaching at the enthronement? The Most Rev. Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and Chairman of the Gafcon Primates’ Council is preaching at the enthronement.

8Why is the enthronement budget so expensive?

a. Enthronement of an Archbishop takes place only occasionally. The last one was on the 16th of December 2012. It’s a national event, so it involves very many people, who have to be seated in the cathedral and in overflow seating in tents, and the tents require a PA system and appropriate screens for broadcasting the service.

b. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, serves as both the diocesan Cathedral for Namirembe Diocese as well as the Provincial Cathedral for the entire Church of Uganda.

As the provincial Cathedral, every Diocese in Uganda has a specific chair allocated for that Diocese, symbolizing that the House of Bishops, when seated together, exercise spiritual authority over the entire Church of Uganda. Since the last enthronement, three new dioceses have been created. So, the special chairs for those new dioceses must be made and space in the chancel area of the Cathedral needs to be created.

 c. The perfect time to do renovation and painting for the Archbishop’s Palace – the official residence of the Archbishop – is when the house is empty, i.e., just before a new Archbishop shift to the official residence. So, the budget includes significant funds for painting, repairs, and renovations.

 d. The incoming Archbishop needs a new vehicle that will carry him all over the country on many pastoral visits to the 37 Dioceses.

e. And, of course, everyone needs to be fed. Food and drinks for several thousand people can get quite expensive.

9. Where is the current Archbishop now? Archbishop Stanley Ntagali has vacated the official residence and is staying in another residence until he hands over on 1st March. He has visited every one of the 37 Dioceses in the Church of Uganda to say farewell, and this month he is saying farewell to parishes in Kampala Diocese.

10. Where is the Archbishop-elect now? Archbishop-elect Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu handed over the Diocese of Mityana to his successor, the Rt. Rev. James Bukomeko, on Sunday, 2nd February. He is now temporarily staying in his personal residence in Mukono until the renovations at the Archbishop’s Palace are completed. He will then shift to Namirembe on Wednesday, 26th February.

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