Sunday, November 16, 2008

A full moon was visible as the plane made its descent into Entebbe. Mark Kiyimba, Pastor of the Unitarian church in Kampola, the capitol of Uganda, greeted us warmly in the airport lobby. Our drive to the hotel was about an hour. It was nine at night. Uganda is eight hours ahead of Eastern Time in the U.S. Moonlight shimmered on Lake Victoria. The streets, lined with rows of small trading stands, were filled with pedestrians and traffic that would rival rush hour in any U.S. city. The air was thick with charcoal and exhaust fumes all along the way to the hotel.

Over a delicious dinner we met with six members of the Unitarian church. Pastor Mark and two other men asked about Rev. Rosemary Bray-McNatt, whom they had met earlier this year at leadership training for African congregations which was held in Kenya. Eric, Bill and I were excited to be with indigenous Africans who had chosen Unitarianism. The conversation turned to theology. One member said he was Muslim and Unitarian. Mark, previously a Pentecostal minister, said he left the church because Pentecostal theology in his culture relegated women to a minimal role in the church, including sitting in the balcony apart from the men. We all agreed that Unitarian theology was different; was open and that one did not have to disown their earlier faith communities to be Unitarian.

Bill Sinkford said, “All that we require of you is that you be on your journey seeking your spiritual truth; that you bring all of yourself as you travel on your faith journey; and that you agree to be in community with other people whose journey may be different from yours.” The listening was intense as though everyone was on the edge of their seats. My eyes watered and I felt a sacred connection around the table beneath the spoken words.