Kampala, Uganda, June 16, 2022
For over 100 years, Orthodox Christian missions across Uganda have been economically dependent on the generosity of the Orthodox Church abroad. However, that appears to be changing with the founding of a new mission center in Kampala, Uganda.
St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Christian Mission Center was officially established on Palm Sunday 2022 with the blessing of the late Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The main goal of this mission is to create an economically independent and self-sufficient group of local leaders.
By encouraging the Sacramental life, educating the faithful in the fullness of the Orthodox Way, and through multiple Church services a week, St. John the Wonderworker Mission Center is giving the local Church and its leaders the necessary prescription to enter deeper into a life of faith and love in Christ. This is the first step toward the mission’s goal. It does no good to create self-sufficient leaders who are not one with Christ and in communion with His holy Church.
To undo decades of dependency on outside mission groups, St. John the Wonderworker Mission Center is attempting to give the local Church leaders the tools and resources necessary to help grow the Church in their own communities. This is done through various projects supported by the non-profit organization Orthodox Africa.
Orthodox Africa is helping to create regenerating sources of income through local projects such as a pay-to-stay parking lot, winemaking, and raising pigs, to name a few.
It’s essential that the local Church leaders break their dependency on outside help. By not strictly relying on donations from outside groups, St. John the Wonderworker Mission Center hopes to mentor and train a group of local leaders without the traditional economic constraints that have impeded the growth of the Orthodox Church.
St. John the Wonderworker is the first mission center of its kind. Throughout East Africa are scattered the remnants of Orthodox missions that failed to empower the local population to rise and take charge of their local church communities. By empowering the future leaders of the Church through education and self-run businesses, St. John the Wonderworker is looking to set up the Orthodox Church in Uganda for generations to come.
Hieromonk Siouan (Brown), the director of the Mission Center, frequently comments on the difficulty of preaching Christ's Gospel to people who are starving and may not know where their next meal will come from. By addressing the poverty of the Orthodox Christians of Uganda and helping them set up projects to generate income, the Mission Center can focus on what’s most important—entering into a deeper relationship with Christ.