Children and youth make up the majority
Testifying by megaphone: this is how pioneer work started in Uganda. This week the New Apostolic Church there celebrated not one but two anniversaries—with the Chief Apostle as guest of honour.
It was in 1979 that the teaching of the New Apostolic Church was carried from Kenya to Uganda: Priest Johnstone Olukoye testified in the Bugiri area on foot and with a megaphone, announcing the re-establishment of God’s work of redemption and the coming of Apostles. This can be read in the chronicle of the New Apostolic Church East Africa.
That same year still, more than a hundred people attended a service—on the Kenyan side of the border—and were sealed. A year later, Apostle Simon Anokoli conducted the first New Apostolic service on Ugandan soil. Around the same time, Apostle Edward Deppner—a Canadian—entered Uganda from Rwanda, situated on its south-western border, and established a congregation in Kabale.
Median age: under 16
Today the New Apostolic Church in Uganda has 66,000 members in about 560 congregations. They are cared for by five Apostles, six Bishops, and about 1,400 additional ministers. The majority of the members are children and youth.
This coincides with the age structure and demographics in the country, which has one of the youngest populations. Nearly 80 per cent of the 42 million people are younger than 25, nearly 48 per cent are even younger than 14 years of age. The median age is 15.8 years. There are only three other countries worldwide whose median age is even lower.
85 per cent are Christians
Uganda is a melting pot of cultures. Sixty ethnic groups with their own languages and traditions live here. English is the most widely used official language. Kiswahili is mainly used by the police and the military. In daily life, people use local languages and dialects.
Despite these different backgrounds, Uganda is a Christian country. Nearly 40 per cent of the population are Roman Catholic, 45 per cent are Protestant (mostly Anglican). Muslims make up 13.6 per cent of the population.
District Church celebrates its anniversary
From a New Apostolic perspective, the national capital of Kampala is certainly historic ground. It was here that the District Church East Africa was established ten years ago when Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber ordained Apostle Shadreck Mundia Lubasi as District Apostle on 29 March 2009.
His successor, Jospeh Opemba Ekhuya, was ordained by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in April 2015. Chief Apostle Schneider will be in Kampala again this coming weekend. On Saturday morning there will be a meeting for all Apostles from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. A choral concert is planned in the afternoon.
The members of the entire District Church can participate in the highlight of the Chief Apostle’s visit. The divine service in Kampala will be transmitted live to all three countries by Uganda Broadcasting Corporation and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. This way, about 100,000 people were able to participate in the last such transmission.