BY Pastor Andrew Paul Muwanguzi
Christians in Busoga Diocese, Uganda and the world woke up to the sad news that Bishop Bamwoze has left us but the good news is that he went to be with the lord. The retired and pioneer Bishop of Busoga Diocese was an Innovative leader. He established a number of health facilities in hard-to-reach areas under his Family Life Education Programme, an arm of Busoga Diocese, which he oversaw.
Bishop Cyprian Kikuni Bamwoze always preached for establishment of personal relationship with God and rediscovery of core values of integrity, honest acquisition of wealth, mentoring, productive living and leadership.
He often called for truth, not disguising it as diplomacy, and serving by choice and calling rather than circumstantial and for monetary gains.
He encouraged many to take care of their extended families and advocated for revival of family reunions and fireplace gatherings to acquaint the children with cultural folklore, and having family and clan unit structures to advance development, moral uprightness and other values that make one stand out of the crowd.
He tickled communities on culture of hard, honest work for a living, always investing but keeping a humble background and keeping in touch with the people.
To the Bishop, people are the greatest investment and social capital one can get. It is people who make and buy things. He mentored many, and taught me one big lesson; explaining that God gave us two ears, two hands and two legs but only one mouth so that we could hear, work and reach out double the time we talk. Meaning we should talk less, listen more and work doubly hard.
These values have helped me in my personal life.
We are being derailed by the quality of leadership and the breakdown of moral and spiritual fabric which now glorifies thieves.
Through the changing scenes of life I have remained steadfast in my calling because I had a mentor in him. He
Served with passion, time management and feedback which he is credited for in health circles. When the Bishop fell sick sometime back, he chose and insisted on getting treatment from Kamuli General Hospital in which he was a board chairperson, despite numerous calls for him to be taken to Kampala for better medical treatment. This motivated the staff and brought public confidence in the health facility. But also a big challenge to our government officials.
He consistently ministered to his flock, of which God had given him the privilege to do as an incredible opportunity. I am writing this post on behalf of People Power Busoga because we have drawn confidence from men like him. Sorry he will not see a free Uganda.
Wow, what a heritage! What an example! Today, however – he breathes his last.
So, what do you say to someone who has left this kind of legacy?
Well, you offer biblical reasons to appreciate and value him as a pastor; a shepherd. I would like to review two passages of Scripture that I think best describe Dr Bamwoze and his ministry.
First, is Paul’s admonition to Timothy in his first letter (4:12-13).
Here Paul admonishes Timothy to be an example. This means to offer oneself as an impression; an impression that is used as a mold to shape someone or something else.
Paul’s point here is that Timothy should not so much be an example that others can emulate, but that he is to be a mold that should be pressed into the lives of others so they too can attain the same shape. How is this to be done? It is to be done in one’s everyday speech, everyday life, through a selfless love – expecting nothing in return, through a trustworthiness in God, and through a pure life like what we saw in Cyprian.
This represents a faithful servant, minister of God’s word. This exemplifies Dr Bamwoze’s character; his life as a godly example for others.
Paul continues in verse 13. Timothy is also to read God’s word, exhort others using God’s word, and teach God’s word.
Basically he is admonishing Timothy to immerse himself in the biblical text, encourage others to godliness and while doing so, emphasize the centrality of the text through study, devotion and life. His lifestyle is to be characterized as a devotion to, and immersion in, the biblical text.
Again, I cannot think of a better way to describe Bishop Bamwoze and his ministry to others and characterize his life well lived before others. As Paul states later in the text (v. 16), Cyprian paid close attention to his life and continued in the teaching of God’s word. He and his ministry exemplified Paul’s admonitions to Timothy.
The second passage comes from the first letter written by Peter. Here (5:1-4), Peter admonishes the elders (pastors) with some challenging pastoral responsibilities.
The pastor is to feed the flock; that is, consistently use the word of God to grow your people toward godliness. He is also to look after, or inspect the flock. Inspecting the people to ensure that their lives are God-pleasing to the church and community at large. How is the pastor to do these things? Willingly, eagerly, and with humility; exhibiting the godly character for others to emulate.
This is not always easy.
But over the years I have watched, and carefully observed these qualities in Dr and Bishop Bamwoze’s life and ministry. He has loved people. He has shared the gospel with many, and by God’s grace, had the privilege to experience God’s working in and through people as they humble themselves and accept Jesus as their Savior.
He is an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). He has paid careful attention to and devoted his life to the Scriptures. He has taught the Scriptures in order to exhort others to growth in godliness. He has done it without complaint.
Why? Because he loves his Lord, and the Lord’s people. He truly understands Hebrews 13:17; that is, to watch over God’s people knowing he would one day give an account for them and he did it with joy. Thanks Bishop for your example. Thanks for being a Paul to me and many others. We will miss you this side but we know that we will find you some day! Rejoice with the Lord.