Deeper roots, wider spread

At first only Ugandans were involved in the curriculum development workshops. But soon Rwandans, Tanzanians, South Sudanese and Kenyans joined in.

As the work grew, deeper roots became evident, connected to the East African Revival that spread in the region from the 1930s to the 1960s and in which the Church of Uganda (COU) played a central role. By the grace of God that Revival movement led to a recovery of a love for Christ and his word, with fellowships springing up and sharing their testimonies across the region. BUILD reflects this background.

BUILD also echoes the genesis of the COU in the late nineteenth century. The foundations of the Church were laid by indigenous agents who took the lead in spreading the gospel from the central area ‘Buganda’ across what is now Uganda, as well as beyond into Rwanda, Burundi and Congo. This happened as individuals such as the extraordinary Apolo Kivebulaya took the lead, with western missionaries following in their wake as the flames spread.

Those same patterns, links and sense of fellowship have been retraced as BUILD teams have responded to requests from Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, DRC and South Sudan. The teams have been training trainers and learning themselves as new programmes have taken root.

In addition, the church leadership crisis that has already been described is not unique to the COU – it is typical of churches across the African continent, whatever their denomination. The vocabulary varies from church to church and from place to place, but the challenges remain largely the same. BUILD holds out promise and patterns for wider work and other initiatives.