history of st. john's church
The original St. John’s church was built in 1908 by the first governor, Sir Hesketh Bell, for the officers who served in government with him.(Sir Hesketh bell was the governor of Uganda from 1905 to 1909.) it was built on a 2 acre piece of land, which was located near the marine school Entebbe. In 1926 Ashton Warner, a church member and lands officer, advised the board of trustees to exchange the church plot for plot 25 circular road, 0.96 acres, the site of the current church. in June 1927, the board of trustees accepted this proposal and the church building, known as the chaplain’s house, was pulled down on October 1928.
In compensation for the demolished building, the government paid the church $400, which was paid at the national bank of India Ltd in Britain. of that amount, $275 was loaned to the church wardens for the purchase of a new church organ, which was acquired in 1928. the interest of that loan was allocated for the construction of a new Chaplain’s house/church, which is the original part of the current church building. at that time, prayers were at Bugonga. the date of construction is not known but was probably between 1930 and 1939.
In 1939, the stained glass window at the back of the church was installed, followed by the arch-shaped window at the front in 1945. the church building was then widened in 1953 and the pillars were added, during the governorship of Andrew Cohen. at this time, the church was well maintained and trees were planted in the grounds.
St. Johns church existed to serve the governor and the Anglicans among his officials. the governor usually attended only very important days. in most cases when he came for prayers the reverends came all the way from all saints church Kampala to conduct the service. time keeping was key. a story is told of one gentleman known as Mr. Sekalala who looked after St. Johns church, polishing and cleaning the cushions (for kneeling on) and also keeping the outside compound clean. the Christians then were so happy that they built him a house in Lugonjo. Mr. Sekalala used to collect money from white Christians who never came to church from their offices until 1972, when the expatriates were asked to leave the country. the last chaplain was Rev. Revensdale (1965 – 72).
After the British left, St. john’s became a sub parish under St. Marks church Namate. local Christians met in the church under the leadership of Mr. Stanley Kyobe and the late Mr. Christopher Buule to sing hymns pray and read the bible, but no sermons were preached. the need for a vicar as recognized and the Rev Nagambe was assigned as a part time vicar at St. John’s church 3 months later.
St. marks church was willing to assign a full time vicar after realizing the special nature and unique service St. Johns was rendering to the community. the first vicar to be posted full time at St. Johns was rev Geofrey Kibirige on 1st march 1979.
In order to support the vicar and church activities, a free will offering was introduced by Namirembe Diocese. each willing member pledged to give in church a fixed amount of money each Sunday or once a month. a bag bearing a number that corresponded with the individual name as listed on the notice board was placed in the pigeon hole at the back of the church.
In 1986, while rev Sam Sempungu was vicar, St. Johns became a parish of its own. in 1988, while rev Benon Kityo was the vicar, the church acquired the piece of land adjoining the church site, now used as a car park. 4 years later, in 1992, fundraising begun for an extension for the church building to meet the needs of the growing congregation. the extension was then built in 1993, still under the leadership of Rev. Kityo.
since that time the church has continued to grow. ever since the 1970s, St. Johns has had a unique congregation comprising people from different regions of the country and beyond. as the church adjacent to statehouse, St johns has had the privilege of welcoming his excellency president Yoweri Museveni and his family for the confirmation services of their children and the fundraising service for the extension of the church building in 1993.
In 2008, one hundred years after, St. johns church was the first established, the church is no longer able to accommodate the big number of Christians and plans for new modern building have been brought up. we as a church want to thank God for his faithfulness over the past years and we believe him for the future as we fundraise for the new church building.
THE OLD AND NEW CHURCH
The church is no longer able to accommodate the big number of Christians and plans for new modern building have been brought up. we as a church want to thank God for his faithfulness over the past years and we believe him for the future as we fundraise for the new church building.
Proposed church building
As we begin our second century of existence, we have committed ourselves to construct a modern church building that will give honor and glory to our God. The building estimated to cost over Shs. 2 billion, and construction will be completed over a period of three years.
The Vision of St. John’s Parish Church is a faster growing, sustainable, Christ Centered Church.
As a faith based church, we exist to provide spiritual care to the people and the community we serve.
The Mission is to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations.