|United Methodists celebrate Humble School in Uganda|
Bishops Daniel Wandabula and Michael Watson embrace after Watson’s portrait is unveiled during the Humble United Methodist School commissioning service on Aug. 11. Watson was honored for his contributions to the Ugandan school, a ministry of the denomination's East Africa Annual Conference. A UMNS photo by Juliet Nabukalu.
By John Makokha*
Sept. 11, 2007 | MUKUNO, Uganda (UMNS)
More than 200 students attend the East Africa Annual Conference school. A
UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.
United Methodists celebrated the commissioning of a Uganda school serving orphans and vulnerable children, and expressed hope it will serve as a prototype for other East African countries.
Humble United Methodist School in Mukono was commissioned in August by Bishop Michael Watson of Macon, Ga. Part of the denomination's East Africa Annual (regional) Conference, the school was started in 2004 to serve children from war-ravaged areas and those from homes affected by HIV/AIDS.
Guests attended the August ceremony from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan — the five countries in the East Africa Conference — as well as the United States.
Watson asked everyone involved with the school to unite in the fulfillment of its purpose. "The opening of the school is in vain without the consecration of those whose gift it represents. Let us give ourselves to the use of this school for the glory of God," he said.
United Methodist Bishop Daniel Wandabula of East Africa pointed out that "Humble" is an acronym for "Helping Ugandan Mwana by Loving Example." "Mwana" is the Lugandan word for children. "My desire is to have more Humble schools in all our five member countries of the conference to address the holistic needs of our suffering children," he said.
A children’s choir entertains guests at
the celebration. A UMNS photo by
The school's mission is to provide quality education enriched with vocational skills, as well as a moral grounding for self-reliance and love of God.
A growing challenge
School Chairman William Bamasute said Humble offers a home-style environment that provides children with basic needs. The school has 204 pupils from nursery to seventh grade. "We are faced with a growing challenge of the increasing number of needy children and families knocking at our doors every minute," he added.
The school is seeking additional support to improve its infrastructure and provide teachers' houses, a girls' hostel and chapel, as well as a vehicle. Watson laid the foundation stone for the girls' hostel.
The vision for the school came through a partnership with East African and the Ugandan church, the South Georgia Annual Conference, United Methodists from Virginia and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. After the East Africa Conference purchased the land in 2001, South Georgia raised $140,000 to erect the first two buildings. Support also has come from United Methodists in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
Students enjoy a morning snack. A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.
During the August visit, Watson and a delegation from South Georgia, along with representatives from Virginia and Caroline Njuki, a Board of Global Ministries executive, officially opened the school and met with children, youth and adults. Watson and Njuki handed over two vehicles, one for Wandabula's office and another for the missionaries working in the conference. The vehicles were donated by the South Georgia Conference and the Board of Global Ministries.
Watson also performed the infant baptism of Joyce Wandabula, the first child of the bishop and his wife, Betty.
Humble School's administration block has been named after Watson in appreciation of his contribution to the school.
*Makokha is a communications consultant to the East Africa Annual Conference. Also contributing to this report were Robert Kisubi, director of communication, education and planning for the East Africa Annual Conference, and the Rev. Denise Walton, associate director of connectional ministries with the South Georgia Annual Conference.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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