Friday, November 13, 2015

The Genesis of Musa Mukasa Chapel - The 5th Anglican Martyr at Munyonyo

Musa Mukasa Chapel started on 26th September 2013, when the Archdeacon of Mengo Ven. John Gitta Kavuma, led a group of Christians at the martyrdom site to launch the long awaited
project, members of the archdeaconry council and Christians from the entire archdeaconry gathered to attend the service.
Owek. Nelson Kawalya
The guest preacher, Owek. Nelson Kawalya, Speaker of Buganda Government delivered a pertinent message that laid the foundation for the establishment of this chapel. He pledged total support by the Buganda Government, since it was King Mutesa I who invited the missionaries, there was no doubt that Buganda Government would back up the vision.

Owek. Nelson unveiled how loyal Musa Mukasa was in the palace. Musa Mukasa did not forget that there was a supreme God who was the king of kings. He encouraged all Christians to be humble and hard working but never to disown the Lord, but should always strive for the best just like Musa Mukasa who chose to meet the Lord at a tender age. “Therefore do not get tired of doing good for in due course you will reap the harvest” (Gal 6:9) He felt sorry for the 25th May1886; event when the young man Owek. Nelson Kawalya preaching at Munyonyo
Rt. Rev. Samuel Ezeofor

Musa Mukasa lost his life. However, he was so encouraged that it was a seed of faith on which we should all incline to renew our faith every moment we recollect the event.
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Ezeofor Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese (Nigeria) at the invitation of Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira delivered a key note address. In his remarks; he encouraged all the Christians to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ. “What you’re doing today is indeed a step in the right direction”

What an opportunity to launch this church on a fertile ground like this? Brothers and sisters let the will of God be done; this church that we open today should always remind you that you’re in real
footsteps of Jesus Christ, whose ministry along the Sea of Galilee was so successful. Am convinced that he who started this good task will accomplish it.

“He who calls you will do it because he is faithful....” (1 Thes 5:24) 

Musa Mukasa was one of the palace pages (Abagalagala). He belonged to a ffumbe clan, joined the palace during the reign of King Suna II. He came with his sister who gave birth to King Walugembe Mutesa I. He was a strong, hard working and humble boy during his service in the palace, King Mwanga II trusted him and kept assigning him different tasks in the palace. He was in charge of the King’s shrine, responsible for lighting fire at a specified time.

When King Mwanga II became a Muslim, the shrine became a mosque. At this time it was still Musa Mukasa who was elevated to become a “muazzin” (one who invites Muslims for prayers), the work he did so well and he won favor before the Kabaka. Because of his best performance he was nicknamed “Muzingiti Mwazini” because he spent most of the time in the mosque and on duty.
Musa Mukasa

This chapel is named after Musa Mukasa because he died as a martyr. This brave and young man did not fear to report before the king remember he had neglected duty due to the on going mission classes in Nateete. The king was so furious after an unsuccessful mission, through which he had also lost his rifle.
At this moment Mukasa wouldn’t appear before the king since he was in wrong. The palace pages (Abagalagala) as the order of the day used to wait for the king whenever he left for missions, this
time all of them had left for mission classes.
This act annoyed the King, in his voice the King said “Musa Mukasa how can you also leave your responsibility and join the rest of the team?” He was distressed and wretched, to the extent
that when he saw him the only option was to kill him on spot.
Possibly if he was present, this would have consoled him, because he loved him more than other palace pages (Abagalagala).

Very early in the morning of 25th May 1886, Apollo Kaggwa was heard speaking to Musa Mukasa and other colleagues palace youths (Abagalagala), as they had a class to attend, they plotted
how they would disappear from the palace on that same day the King had planned to go hunting. This gave them a chance to Ssekabaka Mwanga  escape and nobody would now look for them. Silence emerged all round the Munyonyo palace.

It was at 2:30pm, when the King returned from un successful mission, as if not enough his modern gun had slipped out of his hands between Bulingugwe Island and Munyonyo and disappeared into the deep water this vexed the Kabaka.
The evoking events that had earlier manifested include:
a) The fi re that had gutted the Lubaga palace on 8th February 1886, as a result of earthquake.
b) The big number of Buganda soldiers who had died while the Baganda fought with Bunyoro in Bunyoro
c) The marriage of Princess Nalinya Clara Nalumansi, her conversion as a Christian after burning all the pagan paraphernalia and fetishes.
d) The on going mission classes that decampaigned the traditional worship of (Balubaale)
e) Loss of interest in worshiping gods and witchcraft practices As he continued to be vexed he realized that Musa Mukasa who used to wait for him was not present. He was astonished and
these sparked the death of Musa Mukasa.
Out side the Munyonyo palace under the instructions of King Mwanga when all doors are closed

In the afternoon of 25th May 1886, just shortly after the King had returned from an unsuccessful mission he remembered all the above events, later Musa Mukasa and Apollo Kagwa arrived from
Mengo, an act that annoyed the King when he saw them lifting “Tracts” and other books they had been given while in mission classes at Nateete. He immediately speared Musa Mukasa on spot.

King Mwanga ordered to close all the doors and invited everybody to assemble in the palace court yard. The palace youths who had diligently pursued their reading lessons and had began to see the
light who were not ready to denounce their faith, were ordered to stand on the right hand of the King, and others who were not for the white man’s religion were also asked to sit on the left.

Surprisingly most of the boys stood on the right hand, which again annoyed King Mwanga and fi nally insisted to take them to Namugongo for execution, the journey to 3rd June 1886, climax
then started. A group of 24 Anglican Martyrs and 22 Catholics left for Namugongo to be killed with a belief that all the troubles which were being experienced in Buganda, were a result of ancestral spirits’ anguish of the on going activities of the white man’s religion.

Missionaries used Munyonyo landing site as an entry point to Buganda. It was such an easy access to the centre of Buganda and it held no connotations. This was a clear route that whoever used it was not a challenge to Buganda. It was believed as a peaceful route and all missionaries who used it were successful.
These among others included;
a) Lt. Shergold Smith 30th June 1877
b) Rev. C.T Wilson 30th June 1877
c) Alexander Mackay 1st November 1878
d) Rt. Rev. Alfred Tucker 23rd December 1890
Rt. Rev. Alfred Tucker Alexander Mackay Rev. C.T Wilson Lt. Shergold Smith Munyonyo mulungu landing site

We have just seen who Musa Mukasa was. This was an ordinary person who was among the palace pages (Abagaagala) conversion and accepting Jesus Christ changed him. He went to meet the Lord and his blood was the seed of faith. What he planted has continued to grow up. Thousands of  Christians accept Christ  in this place; they confess sins and refuel their souls. There is
continued urge for ministry.

We have seen people delivered. The power of God has manifested in this place. This has turned out to be an action centred spot, the breeze cannot go un noticed, it would make an impact which
you may see gradually at home, place of work and even in your physical life, while your life keeps changing every now and then you’re able to notice the good cause why Musa Mukasa is
recollected from time to time.

Recollection is so vital for spiritual nurturing, spiritual nourishment and faith renewal. We equate our lives to that of Musa Mukasa who was for the Lord.

Other reasons for which we commemorate include;
Fasting – which is time for self examination. You sit for the paper, fill the correct answer as you reflect your life in a mirror and then declare to become Christ centred.
Deliverance, Healing, pilgrim all these and many others can be seen as refueling our souls and preparing them to meet the Lord.

Ven. John Gitta Kavuma
Later in 1987, activities on the martyrdom site advanced when the youth in the diocese started camping activities to recollect the late Musa Mukasa. But it is believed that earlier the Munyonyo
Church used to organize services every last Sunday of May. By 1998, the onus was extended to the Archdeaconry level; the following invested a lot in promoting the activities:
a) Ven. Can Samuel Kasujja and Sarah Kasujja
b) Mr. & Mrs. Pereni Lubwama for mobilizing Christians
c) Mr. & Mrs. Drake Ssekkeba for donating a shield
d) Rev. Abraham Muyinda
And many others who should also be remembered for tireless efforts to upgrade the site. Since 1987, commemoration continued every last Sunday of May including various activities.

When the 43rd Lambeth Conference resolved to declare a decade of mission all Bishops, in the Anglican Church had to disseminate the message. “This conference recognizes that evangelism is the
primary task given to the church, thus each Province and Diocese of the Anglican commission should make emphasis on making Christ known to all the people”

The Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira thus declared the Decade of Mission in Namirembe Diocese 2008- 2018, whose objectives among others included church planting. The Archdeaconry council which sat on 4th May 2013, blessed the vision when Ven. John Gitta Kavuma introduced the idea of opening the Musa Mukasa Chapel. All members blessed and endorsed it for action.
At the launching of Musa Mukasa chapel, the initial congregation raised concern to generate income to spearhead the project; this was prompted after the Archdeacon had declared Mr. Douglous
Rogers Kiwanuka and his wife Annet Babirye Kiwanuka the first lay reader. The following then contributed as highlighted below;
The Archdeaconry Council after the first service at Musa Mukasa chapel

NAME                                               AMOUNT
Ven. / Mrs. Margaret John Gitta Kavuma 50,000/-
Mrs. Margaret Magumba                          60,000/-
Eng. David Waiswa                                  50,000/-
Mr. Samuel Lukyamuzi                            50,000/-
Owek. Nelson Kawalya                            50,000/-
Mrs. Margaret Kawumi                         100,000/-
Mr. James Mukwaya                               30,000/-
Mr. Nalukoola Francis                             30,000/-
Rev. Robert Muwonge                             20,000/-
Rev. Herbert Zziwa                                 20,000/-
Rev. Fredrick Lubega                              10,000/-
Rev. James Kaana                                   10,000/-
Rev. Samuel Lwere                                20,000/-
Mr. Wilber Naigambi                             20,000/-
Mr. Kimbowa                                         10,000/-
Mr. Miiro Robert                                    10,000/-
Mr. Bukenya                                           20,000/-
Buddo (Annah)                                       10,000/-
Mr. Kityo                                                10,000/-
Mr. Ssekitoleko                                      10,000/-
Mr. Ssendikaddiwa                                 10,000/-
Mr. Kaggwe                                            10,000/-
Mr. Sebuliba Hannington                        10,000/-
Mrs. Alice Tamale                                   20,000/-
Mr. Mata                                                  10,000/-
Mr. Luttamaguzi                                      10,000/-
Mr. Kiwanuka                                          10,000/-
Mr. Tulibatono Eddie                              10,000/-
Mr. Makhonje                                            5,000/-
Mrs. Kamugisha                                         5,000/-
Mr. Ssegamwenge                                      2,000/-
Mr. Mpalanyi William                             20,000/-
Rev. George Ninye                                  20,000/-
Mr. Jack Mayamba                               100,000/-
Mrs. Kellen Twinomugisha                    50,000/-
Total                                                     982,000/-

Rev. Samuel Lwere Altar Chairs (2)
Mub. Stephen Lumu Big Bible (1)
Archdeaconry Lay Readers Plastic chairs (10)
St. Stephen Munyonyo Lectern
Ms. Milly Nabakubi Plastic chairs
Ms. Cissy Nakiyinji Cushions
Mrs. Margaret Gitta 1 Drum
Ssalongo ne Nalongo Kigonya Holy Table

On the 9th April 2014, His Grace Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of the church of the Province of Uganda laid a foundation stone.
In his remarks he acknowledged the site as a holy place and very important in the history of the church of Uganda. He further encouraged everyone to withdraw from what he called comfortable
zone. “We should have faith, this is a good example; brothers and sisters, if we had persecutions, how many of us would stand like Musa Mukasa did?” he asked.

“There are so many places in my father’s house…” (JN 14:2) “what a message of hope! We should believe in the God of Musa Mukasa, let us walk in his footsteps, let us honor this place and make it a
place of worship. God will reward us; he will take us to a place he went to prepare for us.”

“Am glad that church planting has given birth to Musa Mukasa chapel, continue to extend the  essage of God near to the people so that they may know Jesus, believe him as they repent, utilize this place and let God bless this place and all plans ahead of it.”

When Ven. John Gitta Kavuma posted Mr. Douglous Kiwanuka and his wife Annet Babirye  Kiwanuka, they took responsibility with a lot of vigor. The couple besides mobilization they contributed eight hundred thousand (800,000/-) to aid construction of the first structure, they will always be remembered for their tireless effort and commitment . Had it not been so, the ministry would have been difficult to advance. Such effort to set up the first structure with support from the entire Christian community, will always be treasured.
A vibrant church executive committee, the first of its kind was put in place as follows:
A church choir was set up which was composed of vibrant men
and women, all the Christians pledged support and total team
Head of laity Annet Sseruyombya
Asst. Head of laity Molly Naluyima
Secretary Prossy Kibirango
Treasurer Cissy Lumu
Planning & Dev’t Ronald Kigonya
Fathers’ Union John Semakula
Mothers’ Union Carol Kigonya
C.W.F Mary Kimuli
C.M.F Tucker Dungu
Protocol Resty Namusisi
Sunday School Daphine Nabaggala
Youths Ivan Kimbowa
Mission Bernard Okello
D.O.K Jacky Nankya
S.O.K Fred Lutaaya
Choir Olive Kibirango
Warden Harriet Najjuma
Warden Resty Nakasi
Zone Leader Santa Okello
Adviser Maama Sendagala

The Bible reminds us all the miracles of Jesus while at the Sea of Galilee, many people were converted to Christianity like Munyonyo – Mulungu landing site has converted many. The Sea
was thronged with people of different type, with noble and generous impulses. They had a broader outlook and a more versatile character attracted by innovations but had a high standard of virtue and honor. This enhanced Jesus ministry; therefore we do treasure the community of Mulungu for being accommodative and receptive when Musa Mukasa Chapel was introduced, like
Peter who received Jesus and stayed with him in his house at Galilee, next to the Sea of Galilee, the first Lay Reader Mr. Douglous was well received and accommodated.

We should use every available means to extend and linkup ministry at Mulungu Munyonyo landing site just like Jesus used his boat, at Galilee. This boat was discovered in 1986, (now preserved in the museum of Kibbutz Ginosar).

Musa Mukasa Chapel aims at linking ministry within and beyond. Pilgrims and all Christians are encouraged to utilize every opportunity. The seed of faith Musa Mukasa exhibited should be a multiplier effect

The Genesis of Musa Mukasa Chapel is an ultimate definition of a life well lived by Musa Mukasa, just as a farmer plant a seed and eventually harvest, we have and will continue to reap from the Testimony. “We do not need to lose hope, so let us not become tired of doing good for if we do not give up the time will come when we will reap the harvest” (Gal 6:9)

God is still looking for people to use, he needs people to use in this generation. Will you be among them? “The eye of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts
are fully committed to him” (2Chr. 16:9).

One day history will come to close but eternity will go on forever. The future is bright as God promises, your reward lasts for over, and tomorrow will never be yesterday. We shall all stand before the throne presenting our lives in deep gratitude and praise to Christ God take the glory, the honor, the power you created it all, it was created because you wanted it (Rev. 4:11)

© Mengo Archdeaconry Namirembe Diocese 2014

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