Within Uganda, Rooted in Jesus has now been introduced to four Anglican dioceses and one Pentecostal network, and is commended by the Anglican Provincial Office as a recommended tool for discipleship. We are looking forward to working with five further dioceses in 2015 and 2016.
We have received some encouraging news from the Diocese of South Rwenzori, where RinJ has become an established part of the life of the diocese since its introduction in 2008. The initial 40 groups have grown to 100, on average two per parish, most of which have completed the first three books of the programme. In June 2014 we sent a team to help the diocese introduce Rooted in Jesus Junior to 248 Sunday School teachers. Speaking recently to coordinator William Musisi, Junior team leader Jonathan Rendall was delighted to hear that there are now some 90 Junior groups in just three of the diocese’s seven archdeaconries – each of which has its own coordinator – involving some 1400-1800 children. William reports that ‘children can now recite the memory verses, and the parents appreciate the children’s participation in church activities and reaching out to other children.’ He hopes that the RinJ Junior programme will help them to connect with the many children who do not yet know about Jesus.
To read more about what’s been happening in South Rwenzori do visit the Uganda page of the Rooted in Jesus website. William Musisi and his former colleague James Tumwesigye will lead the Rooted in Jesus team to the Diocese of Mityana later this year.
RinJ Junior conference, South Rwenzori June 2014
In 2012 Revd John Lee led a team to the Diocese of Bunyoro Kitara, where RinJ was warmly received; Canon Eric Twine, the archdeacon of Kagadi, wrote “Rooted in Jesus is a true discipleship tool that every Church that serves the resurrected and living Jesus should embrace wholeheartedly. It has both Spiritual and Social components. What a blessing to have a such programme launched in my Archdeaconry!!” Canon Twine and his colleague Mission Coordinator Joyce Asaba have been working hard ever since that first training to support the Rooted in Jesus group leaders. Joyce has kept in regular touch, writing to tell us of people coming to faith through the groups, of the healing ministry established by group members in their churches, and of the ways in which people’s lives have been changed and their prayer lives revived (you can read her most recent report here).
In March 2015 Revd Andrew Pettit returned to Bunyoro Kitara to lead two follow-up conferences. The first, held one in Kagadi, was attended by 187 delegates, of whom 35 were returning and 152 new leaders. Andrew commented: ‘It was clear to us that over the last 2 years RinJ discipleship groups have been embraced with enthusiasm in the archdeaconry, leading to many other church leaders wanting to adopt the programme.’ The second conference, held in Bulindi, was attended by 65 delegates, a mix of existing and new leaders. Team member Hilary Buckingham was delighted to lead three of the new delegates to faith. As ever, team members received as much as they gave; Judith Hogg wrote afterwards “I found the visit to be amazing, particularly the answers to prayer. Everything listed on my prayer letter was wonderfully answered. I think it will impact my preaching here and make me try doing things in different ways.”
To read Andrew’s report click here.
Team member Hilary with translator Alice
We look forward to working in the Dioceses of West Buganda, Mityana, Karamoja and Lango, and to building increasing links between the dioceses using Rooted in Jesus within the Province.
A testimony of healing
Finally, we have had some great news from Peter Silverwood, a member of the South Rwenzori Junior team last June. In September Peter shared the following testimony with us: “For some 30 years I have suffered with a hiatus hernia which imposes severe limits on the food that I can eat. No fat, no sugar, no fruit, no fish – the list is a long one. I have taken daily medication for the condition for many years and take a double dose when I am away from home. On this trip, living out of a suitcase, I managed to lose a quantity of tablets and asked the team for prayer. We asked the Lord not only for help managing without medication but for complete healing. From that day onward I stopped taking medication and have now been without for over 8 weeks. I am substantially healed and am able to eat very many foods that previously I could not. My brothers and sisters at St Mary’s and I are continuing in prayer towards a complete healing and I give thanks and praise to God for his grace and power. I am now able to eat in restaurants and so can take my wife and family out socially much more easily, which is such a blessing. Praise the Lord!” In December Peter sent this update: “Eating at Christmas was a special joy this year! I had the same traditional dinner as everybody else and even enjoyed some special puddings like apple tortes and pavlovas etc. I am now sleeping horizontally, rather than propped up, which is making my back feel much better too and I very rarely take any medication at all. I continue to praise God for His power and thank Him for his grace.”
Peter Silverwood (R) and the South Rwenzori Junior team
Last night a small group of us were reading from Ephesians 1, thanking the Lord for the hope to which he has called us, for the riches of the glorious inheritance which he makes available to us, and for the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe in him. We look forward to playing our part in his purposes in 2015.