Monday, April 12, 2010

Integrity to Sponsor Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo Visit to U.S.

I was pleased to receive this news from Integrity USA:
Integrity USA will sponsor a visit by Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo (ret.) from West Buganda, Uganda for a six week U.S. and European speaking tour. His visit will be an historic opportunity to hear the personal witness of a courageous man of faith who has proclaimed God's inclusive love and spoken truth to power in homophobic Uganda. Bishop Christopher has been a valiant straight ally of the LGBT community and has experienced firsthand the cost of discipleship for his work and witness. He brings words of both hope and challenge of all those working for equality and inclusion in the church.

Bishop Ssenyonjo has been an outspoken advocate for human rights in Uganda. He has taken great risks in defense of LGBT people in his country, a nation where lawmakers recently considered imposing a death penalty on homosexuals. He will address the homophobic and draconian anti-gay movement and legislation pending in Uganda.

His ministry with Integrity Uganda could soon [be]outlawed by the government, and Bishop Christopher could be put in prison for his support of LGBT Ugandans. He has strongly condemned the bill as a violation of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights and a violation of the sacred bonds of the Ugandan extended family system. He calls the bill inhumane and was recently a part of a delegation to the Speaker of the House to reject the bill.

Please be a part of this historic tour, donate to support his work and share these venues with your friends.

The bishop will be visiting the following communities:
Los Angeles May 10- 16th
Sacramento May 17-18th
San Diego May 19-21st
Orange County May 15-16th and 21st
San Francisco May 22-26th
Minneapolis May 27- 31st
New York June 6th-8th, 13th-17th
Belfast and Dublin Ireland June 18-21st

Contact Tour Coordinator: Rev. Canon Albert J. Ogle
Vice President for National and International Affairs
Integrity USA
949 338 8830
The name of Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo rang a bell, but I had to do some searching.


You can read some background here, at Uganda's New Vision newspaper. They write:
In 2002, Archbishop Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo (now retired) defrocked Ssenyonjo because of his support for homosexuality.
Ssenyonjo, formerly the bishop of West Buganda Diocese, in 2004 formed a new denomination called the Charismatic Church of Uganda and was consecrated bishop.
In 2004, Archbishop Luke Orombi wrote to Ssenyonjo informing him that he was “no longer entitled to wear the robes of a deacon, priest, or bishop in the Church of Uganda.”
He was later excommunicated.

Better yet, read the GayUganda blog:

In Uganda, where most queers are too afraid to come out of the closet, straight allies are essential to the gay rights movement but none are as cute, charming or controversial as 78-year-old Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo.

. . .

The Desmond Tutu lookalike works on the outskirts of Kampala, in a tiny storefront across from a row of shanties. By necessity, Christopher never toils past dark. His office, with a dusty desk and used couch, has no light.
By day, though, this is where the retired bishop persists in doing what first got him into trouble almost 10 years ago counselling queers.
"The attitude of my church is that I should condemn them," he says. "But I refuse."

Read the whole story from Gay Uganda.

Thanks to Ann Fontaine for pointing me to these videos with Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo.

The first one includes excerpts from a June, 2008, interview with The Rt. Rev. Christopher Ssenyonjo about his ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans, for the film Voices of Witness Africa.

Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo from Claiming the Blessing on Vimeo.

When I watch that video, I see in him the same kind of joy I see in Archbishop Tutu.
But Uganda's Archbishop Orombi defrocked him and stripped him of the pension he had earned after nearly 50 years in service to the church.
I'll let you decide who is the follower of Christ.
And ... if you are in a location where Bishop Christopher is speaking, I hope you will go hear him. Unfortunately, he will be nowhere near me.


Blogger Ann said...

I thought you were going to LA for the consecration- he will be there.

4/12/2010 10:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, I hope to be in LA for the consecration.
But I wanted to let folks know about Bishop Christopher's itinerary.

4/12/2010 10:39 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Great -- He will be there and at All Saints on Sunday --

4/12/2010 10:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

That's good.
But I'll be with my cousin on Sunday.

4/12/2010 10:49 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

ah-- well have fun with all the doings

4/12/2010 10:50 PM  
Blogger IT said...

Oh I'm bummed -- we will be traveling out of town so unable to attend the consecrations (let's just say BP is peeved at our schedule!) so sorry I will miss the chance to meet you IRL!

4/12/2010 10:54 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

And just let me say I would rather meet you and BP IRL than any bishop in the Anglican Communion.

4/12/2010 10:59 PM  
Blogger IT said...

Well we're much cuter in purple....

4/13/2010 9:46 PM  

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