Vows to finish Church House before he retires
Anglican churches will have an opportunity to have a stake in the under-construction Church House. This follows a pronouncement by Henry Luke Orombi, the Church of Uganda Archbishop, offering shares to churches, parishes and dioceses.
Orombi made the remarks while leading a delegation of the House of Bishops who visited the site on Kampala Road last week. Addressing journalists at the site, Orombi said the sale of shares to churches, parishes and dioceses will be one of the avenues to raise funds to complete the construction.
“Our target is to raise at least 50% of the funds needed from the dioceses,” Orombi said, appealing to members of the Church of Uganda to support their dioceses. “In this way, the dioceses will enjoy a return on their investment once the project is complete.”
The shares, Orombi said, shall not be available to individual persons but corporate entities like churches, parishes and dioceses.
Apart from shares, Orombi said, the church is in the process of securing a loan from financial institutions and of selling some of the church properties like redundant land, to raise money to complete the project.
Construction of the premises finally started four months ago after many years of preparation. The idea started 40 years ago in 1965 as “a means to prepare the church for self sustenance.”
Actual construction, however, delayed because of lack of funds. Past contributions from church members towards the project, Orombi said, realized only Shs 721m.
The church, he added, invested that money in viable ventures and is now using returns from the investments to start the construction process.
Construction of the 16-floor building will cost $16.3m (Shs 40.75bn). Only half of that money has been paid to the contractor, M/S Cementers (U) Ltd.
The project is meant to be completed in 18 months. In the last four months, two basement floors have been erected, and as the architect overseeing the project, John Ssekaziga said, “that is the most important, yet difficult task. We will now be moving at a very fast speed.”
The first two floors, he said, will be used for shops while the remaining floors will house offices. The basement will also have parking space for 85 vehicles.
Ssekaziga also told bishops his team has inadequate working space and storage facilities at the site. As a result, he says, storage and mixing of construction materials is done at their store in Gayaza and transferred to the site.
He also hinted on financial challenges and asked the church to avail the remaining half of the money so that work moves smoothly and doesn’t delay.
In an interview with The Observer, Orombi ruled out any stalling.
“I want to open this Church House before I retire in two years.”