BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
KOBOKO. Tuesday, January 05, 202: South Sudan refugees particularly of the Dinka ethnic group have constructed a magnificent sh400m church in Koboko municipality to appreciate the host community for their hospitality.
The St. John’s Jerusalem Church of Uganda has a sitting capacity of about 1,000 congregation members.
The money was solely raised through contributions by the Dinka community in Koboko, in the camps and the diaspora especially the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
The leader of the Dinka community in Koboko, Venerable Daniel Riek says the church building will live as a souvenir to remember their good stay in Uganda once they return home.
There are many South Sudan refugees who have left their home at the rickety settlements in Bidibidi and Rhino Camp among others to stay in Koboko town.
Riek said they conceived the idea of constructing the gigantic church when they felt that the time allocated for Sunday prayers in Dinka at St. Mark Nyarilo Church of Uganda was too short and too late for most of their members.
“On Sundays, church service could no longer be enjoyable for our Christians due to congestion since our number keeps on increasing,” he said.
The actual construction works began in January 2018 and were intended to last for two years.
So far they have done wiring and installed adequate lighting of the church, fitted all the windows, doors and ventilators with glasses.
The building is fully painted and outfitted with a Public Address System, altar and the necessary furniture.
They are now constructing a VIP latrine, working with the host landlords to acquire more land for the church to do more projects like putting up a guest House, Pastor’s Residence and any other the church council will identify.
Rev Canon James Ombanya, the Vicar of St. Mark Nyarilo thanked the Dinka Community for honouring God by putting up such a magnificent church to worship him.
All the documents of the land and the church are in the names of St. Mark Nyarilo church of Uganda, meaning the development is a property of the Madi and west Nile Diocese.
The diocese has a refugee desk office that runs psychosocial and other support programs to the refugees in the settlements from Adjumani to Arua districts.
Ombanya called upon the host communities to avail more land for expansion and other projects of the church.
He pledged full support of St. Mark Nyarilo to the Dinka congregation and assured them that they will join them in the projects like construction of VIP latrine and acquisition of more land.
Meanwhile Rev David Ayikobua, the Mission Coordinator of Madi and west Nile Diocese commended the refugees for showing a good example of stewardship.
He said the diocese believes in strategic partnerships and dreams of more holistic ministry to the refugees within the diocese.