John Guernsey’s Address at his Consecration

From StandFirm:

Mukama Asiimwe! Mukama Asiimwe! [Praise the Lord!]

I want to thank the Archbishop and the Bishops of the Church of Uganda for this surprising call. When I first came to Uganda in 1989, little did I know that one day I would become a priest in North Kigezi Diocese – what a blessing that has been! – and then be consecrated a bishop in the Church of Uganda. But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways!

I give thanks and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ who saved me when I was a young boy. I was born to Christian parents, but by the grace of God I came to understand that the faith of my parents was not enough. I needed to turn to Jesus Christ for myself. I put my trust in Him and I was born again, and by His mercy I have walked with Him ever since.

There are now 33 Church of Uganda congregations in the U.S. I want you to know of the profound gratitude which these churches have for the protection offered by the Church of Uganda. We praise God for Archbishop Orombi and the House of Bishops, who have paid a high price as they have stood firm for the Gospel and reached out to love and care for faithful Anglicans in America. And now they have taken this step of providing a bishop there in the U.S. to give oversight to these parishes on behalf of their bishops here in Uganda.

As I begin this ministry, the Lord has impressed upon me three priorities, three hallmarks of the Church of Uganda ministry in the U.S.

The first priority is prayer. Jesus said in John 15, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Everything we do must flow from an intimacy with Jesus Christ born out of prayer. It is in prayer that we are nourished in relationship with the Savior. It is in prayer that we hear the Shepherd’s voice so that we may follow Him. It is in prayer that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do His work. Everything we do must be rooted in prayer.

The second priority is mission. “As the Father has sent me,” Jesus said, “so I send you.” Our churches in America are committed to the truth and authority of the Scriptures, but we can only truly claim to be faithful to the Bible if we are missionary churches. We must proclaim Jesus—both His unconditional love and acceptance, and also His transforming power to set us free and make us new. He heals all our brokenness. He redeems all our sin. That is the Good News we share.

I thank God for the East African Revival, which has brought salvation and transformation to countless thousands not only here in this region, but throughout the world. I pray that the fire and fruit of revival will come to the United States, where so many are lost and are, as the Apostle Paul said, “without hope and without God in the world.” And I especially pray that we will be faithful in reaching young people, equipping and empowering them to do the work of ministry in the next generations.

The third priority is unity, the true unity which is found only in the person of Jesus Christ. We have too often seen in the U.S. a counterfeit unity around human institutions. But it is in Jesus, the only Savior, the only Lord, that we unite as sinners saved by grace.

Archbishop Orombi has made clear that in the U.S. the Church of Uganda seeks to join with all the faithful to build a biblical, united missionary Anglicanism in America. We are deeply thankful for the partnership in the Gospel which we have with the Provinces of the Global South. And I praise God for the courage and humility of Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh, who boldly leads the orthodox Anglicans in America and who points us to Jesus, whose shed blood makes us one.

The verse which the Lord gave to me many years ago for my life and ministry is 2 Corinthians 4:5: “We preach not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” May the ministry of the Church of Uganda in the United States always be a ministry of servanthood, seeking only to glorify Jesus Christ.

All praise and honor be to Jesus, this day and always.

Mukama Asiimwe!

John Guernsey was consecrated an Anglican Bishop in the Uganda on Sunday, September 2, 2007. Anglican TV has the video of the service here. Kevin Kallsen photo.