Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention

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Mission? That’s everyone’s job Bangor Worldwide holds satellite event in Parish of Magheralin and Dollingstown.News

It was as much as how he said it as what he said. Archbishop Henry Orombi looked directly and passionately at the congregation of St. Saviour’s Dollingstown and told them that mission was everyone’s responsibility.

Worship in St. Saviour’s, Dollingstown
Worship in St. Saviour’s, Dollingstown

It was a look born of experience, wisdom, insight and gut–wrenching belief in what God had done, was doing and would do in his life and in his nation.

Cynics might describe this as a teaching–your–granny–to–suck–eggs moment but then how often in church life do the followers of Jesus Christ have to be reminded to remember what they already should know?

And in the context of a conversation about Matthew 25:31–40 the Archbishop spoke from the painful experience of witnessing his people of Uganda hungry, thirsty, naked, outcast, sick and imprisoned. In fact from a spiritual perspective we are all, he said, prisoners of sin in need of freedom in Jesus Christ.

So, if the children of God can’t answer the call of the Lord of their lives then what on earth are they truly about and how different are they from the rest of humanity?

Indeed while he acknowledged the physical needs of his people the Archbishop also declared that the world was hungry and thirsty for Jesus Christ and He was the only person who could satisfy those spiritual imperatives. In that regard hope was born, the hope that transforms lives.

A world in need of salvation, he proffered, needed Christ’s disciples to get to work. That remained his mission in life despite becoming Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala in 2004 and retiring in 2012. His current workload looked a lot less like retirement than he had envisaged.

Archbishop Orombi was in town as part of the Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention that took place from August 18th–26th.

St. Saviour’s in the Parish of Magheralin and Dollingstown held a satellite event and he shared the platform with Dickie and Janice Barr of Charlene’s Project, a missionary movement which grew from the visionary heart of their 19–year–old daughter, Charlene, who died of cystic fibrosis but who while in a deteriorating condition dreamt of seeing a school built in Uganda – and it was! 

She raised funds to that end through a series of adventures and projects but sadly she didn’t live to see the school open.

Parish rector, the Rev Simon Genoe, welcomed the Archbishop and Bishop Harold Miller of Down and Dromore diocese.

The Barrs explained the origin of the mission charity, the work it currently does and their plans and vision for the future. It was a passionately delivered talk, where the emotion and memory of their daughter’s passing hung in the air, yet was infused and emboldened with a missionary zeal, a sense of purpose in the Spirit of God and an overwhelming peace.

Archbishop Orombi was visibly moved by the Barrs’ talk and admitted that he had no idea of the charity’s work in his country. He declared the parish ‘Holy ground’ given the array of missionary work carried out by its people through the likes of Fields of Life, Love for Life, the South American Missionary Society and of course, Charlene’s Project.

Indeed the Barrs’ discourse complemented the thrust of his sermon – ordinary people doing God’s work in extraordinary circumstances in the way in which God intended; the sheep imitating the shepherd and in so doing, serving him.

“…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

His challenge was that all followers of Jesus Christ have a similar mandate; indeed their default setting is missional, yet not all act upon it. That mission field he said didn’t have to be Uganda or the other side of the world; often it was in their community, close at hand.

Serving others and meeting need in whatever shape or form that takes is what matters – not everyone has to build a school or sink a well. Using one’s gifts appropriately under God represents obedience to him and service to others.

It was that simple.

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