Remembering late Bishop Benon Magezi’s stint in office Jan 2017 – June 2021

1397

OP-ED– The late Benon Magezi was consecrated Bishop of North Kigezi Diocese in January 2017, he died in June 2021, barely in his 5th year of service, however he left un indelible mark of achievements which christians of North Kigezi Diocese will live to remember. 

Human Resource Management and staff Capacity building

Bishop Magezi loved everyone equally both staff and non staff for they testify that he was able to serve with everyone the way they are regardless of their weaknesses and strengths. 

He encouraged and gave room to the serving staff to further the education including multidisciplinary professionalism which  is alongside theology he believed that clergy and other church ministers can still achieve other professions for the good of the Diocese.

During Bishop Magezi time in office at Kinyasano, a number of clergy went for further studies and trained in Bachalors of Law (LLB),  Education and several other Diocesan staff have furthered their studies in accounting, health, theology and others.

With his hardworking spirit, he was able to start the fishing project under which there are four fishing ponds each having 5000 fingerlings maturing In December 2021 and his dream was to register it as a demonstration farm in southwestern Uganda.

Great thanks to the UK donors who responded to this call and supported the aquaculture.

He encouraged and attracted partners in missions for example the Christian partners in Africa who support vulnerable children alongside community empowerment schemes/projects.

During COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, he lobbied for church ministers support funds, distributed food to the diocesan staff, media houses and security organs, distributed solar lamps and water filters to all the clergy with support from partners in USA, Australian and UK.

COVID-19 Food Relief and Gifts of Love

Immediately on the onset of COVID-19 and government announced a lockdown, Bishop Magezi appealed to all Friends from overseas and was able to get food relief from CPA – Christian Partners in  Africa [UK], ARMIDALE Diocese of Australia and United Kingdom.

These gave funds and identified categories of beneficiaries were Clergy, Lay readers, Health centers, Media houses, Police, Teachers of nearby schools and extremely needy families.  

“Never make excuses. Always wake up with a smile knowing that today you are going to accomplish what others are too afraid to do” – Willie Shoemaker.

Gifts of love

The Christian Partnets in Africa again thought of extending more support to some families that were identified in the areas of Bwambara, Kakinga and Buhunga together with CPA sponsored Children and these were given other gifts like Mattresses, garden tools, Water tanks, Blankets, improved planting seeds and extra food relief.  

“I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to serve without counting the cost” – Bruce Jenner

Bishop Magezi maintained and renovated diocesan housing structures both commercial and non commercial that has attracted and improved income for the Diocese.

He renovated and improved health service delivery at Rugarama Health Centre IV including special consultation services.

The Cathedral construction project that started in July 2019 led by Engineer Tebyase was until his death, going on well and he  bought land and built a new church at Rugando Church of Uganda under Rusoroza Archdeaconry.

He built and renovated the diocesan staff quarters on the his land was bought from Bishop Patrick Tugume with intentions of developing it into a University hostel.

With the help of the Armidale Diocese of Australia, he partitioned and equipped the Canon Ndimbirwe Bible College Library, land lease projects on undeveloped land for income generation to the Diocese and he secured titles for the Diocesan land and Mothers’ Union construction project started and is ongoing.

Mission and Evangelism

Under his leadership North Kigezi Diocese participated in the greater Kigezi hosting of the Namugongo pilgrimage celebrations in June 2019.

He achieved Diocesan convention that attracted and blessed many Christians and declared a diocesan Youth convention that was to take place in August 2020 but it was stopped by COVID-19 breakout.

Bishop Benon Magezi with the Youth before the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

Archbishop’s Visit/Farewell

At the beginning of the year 2020, North Kigezi Diocese hosted the former Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda, His Grace Stanley Ntagali bidding farewell and retiring from his active service.  

Cows

Through his lobbying skills, the Diocese received 20 cows from the Province of the Church of Uganda through NAADS and this hese were distributed to Archdeaconries, individuals and other office staff who were selected by the management and capable of maintaining them, and some have since multiplied to benefit more other people. 

Renovation and book stocking at CNBC

The Diocese received a missionary couple, Rev. Andrew and Margie from Australia who will be serving in North Kigezi Diocese for the next five years on a renewable contract.

The Bishop also appealed to friends from Australia who responded and donated 6000 library text books and this called for the renovation and improvement of the library building together with the purchase of book shelves at Canon Ndimbirwe Bible College Kyamakanda.

Rugandu Church land Acquisition

After misapprehension between Bishop Magezi and Bishop Dan Zoreka of Diocese of Kinkizi regarding the conflicts between Christians of Rugandu church that led to separation of boarders and leaving the established Church in the lands of Kinkizi Diocese. 

The Christians from North Kigezi became stranded and started worshipping in an open space and this created concern in the minds of  Bishop Magezi who had to see how to settle  christians and when he appealed to some christians, funds were raised to purchase a land and to built the Church where Ugx 10,000,000 became a major contribution by Muzei James Musunguzi Garuga through Canon Ben Maguru.

“You can stand tall without standing on someone and you can be a victor without having victims……therefore your choice, your responsibility only hold the keys to your destiny” – Micheal Jordan.

Farm House

The farm manager’s house close to the Kraal at Kinyasano was built using the old cathedral materials like Iron sheets, windows and doors. 

Clergy Stipends

The Bishop felt concerned about his Clergy with no salaries and again approached our friends in Overseas who responded positively to the call. The Armidale Diocese of Australia, came in handy and on top of food support, they offered monthly stipends to all Clergy of about 700,000/= paid to each of them close to 5 months.

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it” – Hellen Keller

Internet installation and Supply

The Bishop through the Province got another internet network installed and with this is Airtel Network reduced the costs of hiring external network suppliers.

Printing Press, Production Room, Bookshop and Stationery

This is a project printing all sorts of stationery, church books, printing Diocesan Schools exams and mocks and offer all services to Rukungiri community.

Diocesan Website

Year 2019, the Diocese launched the website and this is facilitating communication worldwide regarding the activities, projects and information dissemination to public, well-wishers and funders. It has been confessed and confirmed by the Bishop while in UK that it was so amazing sharing with the partners and people he met using the Diocesan Website. Please you can visit the Link www.nkd.org.

Staff Corporate Uniform

The Bishop found it deeming to go to modern way of corporate uniforms like other corporate bodies and this was purchased and distributed to all staff members. 

Convention, Mission and Evangelism

Another development was Convention that renewed the Christians back to Christ just like the Christian Revival of the 1930s and this was borne by the Bishop Magezi in 2018 and effected August to September 2019 and this gathered all christians at Kinyasano Hill where over 2000 people converged both christians background and non- christians. 

Under Bishop Magezi leadership North Kigezi Diocese participated in the greater Kigezi hosting of the Namugongo pilgrimage celebrations in June 2019 and the first christians from North Kigezi Diocese walked from Kinyasano to Namugongo.

He appealed to Christians who committed to contribute to the work of mission from the he period of Lockdown up to now and members like Canon Justice Andrew Bashaija and Canon Absolom had declared to support the diocesan Youth convention that was to take place in August 2020 but it was interfered by Covid19.

“We know that Faith and values can be a source of strength in our own lives. And this has always been exhibited in our Christians so let this continue to be the foundation of our spiritual renewal”.

Bishop’s Thanksgiving and Cathedral Project

Bishop’s Thanksgiving and Cathedral Expansion Project.

The year 2019 started with two stems, one was the Bishop’s Thanksgiving in commemoration of 2 years and 4 months in the office of the Bishop since 2017 and used it to launch a fundraising for the expansion of the St Emmanuel Cathedral Kinyasano and these two stems were done successfully on 26th May, 2019.  

The function was held at the Convention Site presided over by the Commissioner of Prisons, Canon  Dr Johnson Byabashaija as the Guest Honor and attracted other important people that included the then Rujumbura Member of Parliament Hon Fred Turyamuhweza, Hon Roland Kaginda, formee FDC President Dr Kiiza Besigye, current Security Minister Hon Maj  Gen Jim Katugugu Muhwezi, Canons, House of Clergy, Pillars, Investors and Rukungiri Traders among others. 

The Chief celebrant at the function was Bishop Sheldon Mwesigwa of Ankole Diocese assisted by Emeritus Bishop Patrick Tugume Tusingwire. 

The function attracted all people of different denominations including Catholics, Muslims and Pentecostal Christians and this raised Ugx 200 million in cash and Ugx 100 million pledges. 

The Construction work at St Emmanuel Cathedral started in July 2019 and was portraying steady progress and members continued with their pledges.

“Developments don’t just come, only courageous person will rise out of fear and face everything. Therefore, this will require new ways of thinking and a new spirit of cooperation” – Dale Carnegie.

The ongoing construction of St Emmanuel Cathedral Church Kinyasano which Bishop Benon Magezi had started .

University Renovation and Construction

Bishop Magezi and members mobilized funds to do repairs that involved painting of office, old lecture rooms which was a requirement to register with National Council for Higher Education.

He was requested to put up a block that would house Computer Lab, Library and provide other two lecture rooms and the funds put up a modern building with four rooms, purchased standard sitting desks/chairs for students, Library reading tables, Library book shelves, safe, Computers (8), Internet Installation, Library chairs, Reading text books, Computer desks, White Boards and putting up examination room, renovation of Principal’s office, Staff room.  

He also had an intention of extension of Bible College and introduce other disciplines alongside Theology programs.

 A Solar Systems Installation

This is also one of the achievements during Bishop Magezi term of office, which was needed to save on electricity bills at Bishop’s residence and the arrangement was done between Diocesan Administration and Solar now Company who installed it.  

Leisure and Discovery

The Diocesan staff together with Archdeacons were blessed to have a tour to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The activities in the park involved Gorilla tracking and nature walk and this became a new experience to most of the staff who had never been to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alongside Kayonza Tea Factory.  

Bishop Benon Magezi with some of the North Kigezi Diocese staff in jovial mood before his death.

Strategic plan Development

Bishop Magezi made the Diocese operate on strategic plan, aiming at giving a clear direction and vision of the Dioceses’ activities which was launched early 2019. 

This is a 10-year plan that is specifically pointing out the key [SMART] Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound objectives that would direct the diocese achieve the common goal.

Fixed Deposit Account

The Diocese has introduced a good culture of fixing its reserves for the period of six months and this has enabled the Diocese save for Pastors’ salaries for the months of June to October 2019.

Each year it was ranging from Ugx 350,000,000 to Ugx 450,000,000 at an interest rate which fetched dividends for the Diocese.

Theological and Lay readership courses

Bishop Magezi maintained the training of Theological and Lay readers paid for them fees and allowances at UCU, BBUC and CNBC respectively. And this was always followed by ordination every December each year. 

Human Resource Management and staff Capacity building

Bishop Magezi loved everyone equally both staff and non staff for they testify that he was able to serve with everyone and he encouraged and gave room to the serving staff to further their education including multidisciplinary professionalism that is alongside theology because he believed that clergy and other ministers can still achieve other professions for the good of the Diocese for example as a result the clergy have trained in Law,  Education and several other Diocesan staff have furthered their studies in accounting, health, theology and others.

North Kigezi Diocese Empowerment Scheme [NOKIDES].

The scheme is currently supporting 9 groups from designated parishes and each group is given a loan to support their self-help projects. 

This fund was first solicited by Emeritus Bishop Edward Muhima and the loan is given at 2% interest rate and with grace period of 4 months. 

Church Lands

It was during Bishop Magezi term of office that the Land committee appointed in the council of 2017 and started doing a commendable job regarding the church lands registration where a big step has been taken in this registration and most of the Church lands have obtained land titles and others have got land marks.

Fathers’ Union

Bishop Magezi revived the Fathers Union Ministry and is working with aim of bringing all christian men closer to Church and operational structures at a very parish level were formed, conducted workshops and seminars in almost all Archdeaconries registering new members and conducting mass weddings and the Fathers’ union constitution was completed and approved by the Diocesan Bishop together with Fathers’ Union Council in May 2019. 

Mission Direct

This is a Charity organization that has been supporting and funding some of the projects in North Kigezi Diocese. They have been supporting the construction of Primary schools in Bwambara Archdeaconary where they also constructed a stance pit latrines, bathrooms and water tanks of 30,000 and 40,000 liters.

Aquaculture

The fishing project under which there are four fishing ponds each having 5000 fingerlings maturing in December 2021, and the dream was to register it as a demonstration farm in southwestern Uganda and great thanks to the UK donars who responded to his call, the harvesting is already taking place.

Rugarama Health Centre

He maintained and renovated Diocesan housing structures both commercial and non-commercial which has improved income for the Diocese and 

he renovated improved service delivery at Rugarama Health Centre IV including special consultation services with focus to up-grade it to a Hospital status.

Land Lease

Land lease projects on undeveloped land for income generation to the Diocese and a plot near Rugarama Health center that had spent years lying idol for many years was leased for development. 

The land in question was bought by Bishop Muhima, but it had remained undeveloped and the aim was to have this Land Lease money put up more structures at Rugarama health center and expand on health services. 

Plot Purchase

Bishop Magezi bought a plot of land near the Diocesan staff quarters and this land was bought from Bishop Patrick Tugume with intentions of developing it into a hostel or extension of staff quarters. 

 Education Department Motorcycle

Another development, the Education department purchased a brand new motorcycle that is now assisting the department in school inspections, monitoring and other travels, this was secured to specifically to help the new staff who was deployed as an inspector in-charge of Primary and secondary schools. 

 Missions Departments Automobile

He also secured a Vehicle on 22nd October, 2018, a Toyota Hiace Supercustom, blue in colour Registration number UBE 350G which is for the department of Missions and Evangelism, Trainings, workshops and refresher courses and the Bishop allocated some funds for workshops and conferences for Pastors and other stakeholders boasting their leadership styles and skills in taking up the Lord’s work.  

Some conferences organized and funded by Rev. Dr. Brian Kluth from US where both active and retired clergy had an opportunity to attend where they were given water filter buckets and solar lamps courtesy of Brian Kluth. 

Other series of trainings organized by the Diocese included Clergy Conference, Lay Canons’ conference and Lay readers’ conferences led by Canon Rev Rutaraka and the Lay readers, Senior Wardens, Pastors and Treasurers training led by the Administration staff and other workshops which came in at different occasions, called by the Bishop. 

 Flags

Bishop demanded that Provincial Flag be raised at the Diocesan Headquarters and at every Parish and as a result he had to put up East African, Ugandan flag, Diocesan and Provincial flags at the Diocesan offices.

 Partners in Mission

On top of Friends of North Kigezi Diocese [Overseas friends], he attracted another group of Partners from UK called CPA- Christian Partners in Africa. These support vulnerable families in North Kigezi Diocese. 

 *”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”* – Martin Luther King Junior.

ad