Ugandan pastor elected bishop
|Bishop Daniel Wandabula stands with his wife, Betty, following the consecration service.|
text and photo by Andra Stevens
The United Methodist Church’s newest bishop is the Rev. Daniel Wandabula of Uganda.
Wandabula, 41, is a pastor and former dean of superintendents and project coordinator for the Uganda/Sudan District of the East Africa Annual Conference.
He succeeds the late Bishop J. Alfred Ndoricimpa, who died in July 2005, as resident bishop for the United Methodists of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.
Wandabula was elected May 27 when the Africa Central Conference met at Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
As they voted, the delegates spoke of the need for development, healing, reconciliation and unity within the church and in their various, strife-plagued countries.
“I am so excited in my heart because we wanted someone who is neutral, and we now have that in this leader,” said Alice Wasilwa, a lay delegate from Kenya.
“He is a man from the new generation, and he is strong,” said Bishop Jose Quipungo, the bishop for East Angola and president of the Africa Central Conference.
Quipungo and his fellow bishops pledged to assist and support their new colleague, noting that he faces a tremendous responsibility in the East Africa Conference.
Seriously divisive issues exist within and among the different groups, ethnic and otherwise, that make up the annual conference. Years of war — in Rwanda, south Sudan and northern Uganda in particular — have resulted in large numbers of orphans and in dilapidated or destroyed infrastructure. Church members in the area point to a need for more trained pastors and for skilled professionals to lead development projects to help communities prosper.
“East Africa is an area that is facing a lot of challenges,” Zimbabwe Area Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa said. “It needs a healing spirit, and we know that our brothers and sisters there will continue to show maturity and grow with their bishop.”
—Andra Stevens, director of information and public affairs, Africa University