Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Church of Uganda (CoU) House of Bishops has resolved to have the retired Archbishop Stanley Ntagali handled by a tribunal in accordance with the Canons of the Church.
The tribunal membership currently remains secret but Uganda Radio Network-URN has learnt that this is made of 6 bishops and chaired by the Church Chancellor.
The Church of Uganda Provincial Secretary, Rev. Canon William Ongeng says that the possible punishments in case the Tribunal finds one guilty range from exoneration to Ex-communication. In between the two are also Admonition, Censure and Deprivation. Ntagali has already pleaded guilty, which could be a mitigating factor t help him survive ex-communication.
A copy of the the Provincial Canons seen by our reporter stipulates a procedure for the trial of Bishops and Provincial Officers and in case charges are brought against these officers of the Church, and are tried by a Provincial Tribunal.
“Upon the conclusion of the trial and passing of Sentence, the Chair of the Tribunal shall forward the judgement to the Archbishop for the attention of the House of Bishops within a period not exceeding fourteen days,” the Canons read.
The Archbishop is then mandated is make known the sentence to the Church of Uganda as a whole.
Rev. Ongeng read the Thursday 28th resolutions of the House of Bishops meeting at Lweza Conference Training Center in a statement to journalists at the Church of Uganda Provincial Offices at Namirembe. The House of Bishops is the top governing body of the Province of the Church of Uganda which boosts of 13 million Christians.
“The House of Bishops sitting at Lweza on the 28th day of January 2021 affirmed that; the retired Archbishop Stanley Ntagali committed the sin of adultery which he has admitted in a statement he wrote to the House of Bishops,” reads part of the statement.
In the statement l, the House of Bishops condemned the act and acknowledged it as a sin of an individual in the person of Bishop Stanley Ntagali and that the Church of Christ remains healthy and spotless.
“The House upheld the statement made by Archbishop Kaziimba noting that by the statement he was implementing a decision that had previously been agreed upon by the House. The House resolved that Bishop Stanley Ntagali be handled in accordance with the Canons of the Church of Uganda,” further reads the statement.
Meanwhile, the House of Bishops appointed a team to minister to the respective parties and their family members.
Retired Archbishop Ntagali’s came to public notice early this month following his suspension from performing priestly duties for involvement in an extra-marital affair with a married woman.
This was confirmed by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda the Most Rev. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu in his letter dated January 12, 2021, to the Anglican Bishops under the Global Anglican Future Conference- GAFCON. “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my predecessor, retired Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, has been involved in an extra-marital affair with a married woman, which he has acknowledged,” the letter reads.
According to Dr Kaziimba, Retired Archbishop Ntagali betrayed his Lord and Saviour, his wife and their marriage vows, as well as the faith of many Ugandans and global Christians who looked to him to live the faith he proclaimed. Kaziimba further notes that his predecessor betrayed the office of Archbishop, his ordination vows, and the moral commitments he championed.
He said that he had informed the retired Archbishop Ntagali that he is not permitted to function sacramentally, preach, or represent the Church of Uganda in any way until further notice, and assured the Church of Uganda that they are committed to transparency as well as pastoral care for those who have been affected by this situation.
The Archbishop further noted that the Church of Uganda continues to uphold marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union between one man and one woman and that adultery is as immoral as homosexuality and that they will not shy away from their commitment to this moral standard.
He warned that if there are any church structures that have enabled such behaviour to be covered up, they are committed to identifying them and repenting of systems that protect abusers and harm victims.
Ntagali, 65 years, served as 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and handed over office to Kaziimba on March 1, 2020, after clocking the retirement age. While serving as Archbishop, Ntagali was also the Bishop of Kampala and earlier served as Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese from 2004 to 2012.
Following Kaziimba’s letter, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Rev. Foley Beach issued a statement on Monday 18th on regard to Ntagali’s suspension.
Beach is the Chairperson of the Global Anglican Future Conference -GAFCON Primates Council. These are leaders of the conservative Anglican communities that among others, regard homosexuality as a sin. This is their fundamental difference with Canterbury.
Part of Beach’s letter read: “As many of you have heard, the Church of Uganda has just shared that their recently retired archbishop, Stanley Ntagali, has admitted to having an affair. Stanley is a brother in Christ with whom I have appreciated working beside in years past, and it grieves me profoundly to hear of this moral failure. It is my prayer before the Lord that he will continue down the path of repentance and that the Lord will comfort all those impacted by this sin.”
He applauded the integrity with which, Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba and the Ugandan House of Bishops had handled the matter. “They have modelled Godly leadership and discipline for all of us in the GAFCON movement, please join me in keeping the whole Ugandan Church in your prayers,” the Most Rev. Foley Beach added.
During his reign as Archbishop, Ntagali served with distinction for seven years and resolved disputes in various dioceses. He consecrated 21 new Bishops and oversaw the opening of three new dioceses.
He is also remembered for his stance against homosexuality, the land grabbing time-bomb and corruption.