Central Buganda Diocese rethinks sources of income

Matovu and Musoke, Buganda

Bishop Matovu addressing the Diocesan Council.

The Diocesan Council of Central Buganda decided in December to pursue money-raising ventures on church lands in order to supplement waning donations from church members and assure the survival of the diocese.

The 39th session of the diocesan council, meeting Dec 5 at St John’s Cathedral in Kasaka, received a troubling financial report on the year 2013 and a budget for 2014, submitted by diocesan treasurer Margret Ssengendo.

Margret’s report indicated that in the year ending December 2013, she got an income of 621,149,451 Ugandan Shillings ($261,607 Canadian) to cover expenses of 772,453,391 Ug Sh ($325,330 Canadian), leaving a shortfall of 151,303,941 Ug Sh ($63,724 Canadian). Hence the diocese could not meet many of its financial obligations.

the diocese could not meet many of its financial obligations

She then tabled the next year’s budget of a total of Ug Sh 796,654,991 ($335,523 Canadian). She explained that she expected to raise the money mainly from remittances from the churches, school dues, selling of baptism and confirmation cards and donations.

Discussing the report, the members were irked by the way some parishes handled their diocesan financial requirements. There were parishes which the report indicated to be in arrears of up to seven months for their remittances to the diocese.  The policy is that a parish remits 30 per cent of its Sunday collections to the diocese every month but parishes hadn’t done so.

It was noted that because the diocese is located in purely a rural setting where the people largely depend on peasantry work, their incomes were very low and so was their giving to the church.

It was also observed that some of the churches that failed to remit money to the diocese were actually occasional churches which functioned on Easter and Christmas days only. On these days, the worshippers gather at a place, get someone to lead them to pray and thereafter, they go away till the next Easter or Christmas. So, no reliable income can be expected from such churches.

Besides all of this, there was also the problem of empty pews in churches on Sundays and on other worship days. The council noted with disgrace that Christians no longer attend churches. They instead use the time pursuing earthly endeavors.

Resolutions

Due to the fact that people no longer have enough for themselves so as to spare some reasonable amount to give to the church, and that Christians no longer want to attend church, it is high time churches thought to aggressively venture into doing business most especially by starting projects that can generate income for them.

Matovu with Buganda

Bishop Matovu and Rev. Jason Musoke consult during the Diocesan Council.

In view of all the above, the council came up with three resolutions.

Firstly, that the diocese should think of other means of raising income to supplement the dwindling offertory. Projects of agriculture were preferred because most of the churches have land not being utilized for their benefit.

Secondly, that the diocesan treasurer should keep in constant touch with the parishes about their financial performance by regularly monitoring their books of accounts to enable her to find out where the weaknesses lie and help to address them promptly.

Thirdly, the diocesan Board of finance should organize workshops for the lower churches’ committees in the methods of improving their church incomes. It should also check on the churches reported as being just seasonal and give suggestions to their Christians how they could keep them permanent or recommend for their removal from the diocesan treasurer books.

Due to the fact that people no longer have enough for themselves so as to spare some reasonable amount to give to the church, and that Christians no longer want to attend church, it is high time churches thought to aggressively venture into doing business most especially by starting projects that can generate income for them.

By Mulondo Lezhein Peker