Kabarole, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Diocese of Ruwenzori has launched the Runyoro-Rutooro Zoom service. Ruwenzori Diocese Bishop Reuben Kisembo said that the service is meant to bring together Christians from Tooro to pray together despite the closure of churches.
Churches across the country have been closed since March 18, when President Yoweri Museveni banned congregational prayers and all forms of social gatherings to contain the spread of COVID-19. According to Bishop Kisembo, the service will be held every Sunday from 3-5 pm and will continue even after the ban on gatherings is lifted.
The Bishop asked Christians to keep loving God while at the same time, observing the guidelines meant to prevent the spread of Coronavirus disease. He also asked parents to take care of their children during the lockdown, amidst reports that cases of defilement and teenage pregnancies are becoming rampant.
Meanwhile, congregants from different parts of the world including U.S.A, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, could not hide their excitement about the service. Rev Samuel Murangi, who first served at Karambi parish under the Ruwenzori diocese before relocating to the United States in 1997, says that he, and his family, had always looked for an opportunity to pray in their childhood language.
To show his love for the service, he, and his church, in Philadelphia have already paid for its annual subscription which has seen an increase of the congregants’ limit from 100-500.
Albert Bakasara, who hails from Kitumba in Fort Portal but currently staying in Maryland, USA, says the segments in the service have changed his life.
David Mugarra, a faithful from Kacwamba in Fort Portal and currently resident in Ireland says that the service is spiritually satisfying and so unique from others because it is purely in Rutooro, his mother tongue.
Damali Noel Kankya, who attends the service from Kampala says it has connected her to preachers from around the world that she never thought of ever meeting.
The idea of Runyoro-Rutooro Zoom service originated from the Kampala Chaplaincy of Ruwenzori Diocese following the COVID-19 outbreak and closure of churches. The Kampala Chaplaincy of Ruwenzori Diocese was established in 2001 after the consecration and enthronement of Rt. Rev Benezeri Tibenderana Kisembo.
The chaplaincy is intended to keep Christians of the diocese abreast with diocesan programs so that they can meaningfully contribute to its development through financial, material and moral support.
According to Bishop Kisembo, the chaplaincy leaders urged the diocese to expand the online service to incorporate the Batooro communities around the globe, adding that plans are underway to have a separate youth service.