The African Cross-Bearers by John Ssebalugga Kalimi

The African Cross-Bearers

John Ssebalugga Kalimi on the Martyrs of Uganda

Winston Churchill used to refer to the lush and fertile country of Uganda as “the pearl of Africa,” and legend has it that God stood in Uganda when he created the world. It is also one of the very few African countries, if not the only one, whose political leadership took the bold step of inviting missionaries to come and teach their people the Christian faith. “I and my people are in total spiritual darkness. I invite missionaries to bring the light of the Gospel to my kingdom,” wrote King Mutesa I of Buganda.

In 1877 the Anglican missionaries from the Church Missionary Society (CMS) arrived in the country, followed two years later by Catholic missionaries from the society of the White Fathers. The arrival of the Catholic missionaries was not so pleasing to the CMS missionaries, and constant rivalry, politicking, and unnecessary bickering characterized the primary stages of church planting in Uganda, to the amazement of the king, who had invited the missionaries to bring light to his country.

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