August 10, 2011
By Cooper Brown, Interim IRD Officer, ARLPI
GULU, UGANDA- Two new communities were recently welcomed into the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (ARLPI). On August the 9th, religious leaders and elders of the Seventh Day Adventist and Born Again faiths attended a meeting at ARLPI’s headquarters during which their two communities were officially welcomed into the ARLPI fold.
Founded in 1998, ARLPI’s original configuration consisted of representatives from the Catholic, Anglican, and Muslim communities of Northern Uganda with the Orthodox community being invited into the organization shortly after ARLPI's founding. With this most recent addition of the Born Again Faith Federation of the Acholi-sub region and the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Gulu, Amuru, and Nwoya districts, the total number of ARLPI constituencies is now seven. The already affiliated five constituencies consist of the Gulu Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Diocese of Northern Uganda, the Anglican Diocese of Kitgum, the Acholi Muslim district, and the Acholi Deanery of the Orthodox Church.
Representing the Born Again Faith Federation at the welcoming meeting were Pastors Patrick Okecha and Alex Atine. Both men noted the strong preexisting working relationship between their communities and ARLPI and expressed great excitement at the prospect of working together in an official capacity to address the needs and concerns of the greater Acholi community.
On hand, as representatives of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pastor Liza David and Church Elder Okot Joseph also both voiced excitement over the peacebuilding potential of this official partnership. Pastor Liza David noted how such a relationship appears inevitable since ARLPI and his congregation both work passionately for peace.
ARLPI’s Vice Chairman, All Hajji Sheik Musa Khalil, acting on behalf of Chairman Bishop Johnson Gakumba, took the opportunity to welcome the new members to ARLPI. Noting the years of informal cooperation and expressing gratitude over this new chapter in ARLPI history, he enthusiastically remarked:
“Today is reinforcement for our work. It will increase our strength to help us address the post conflict era for our people. We will work together to promote coexistence, bridge gaps, and transmit love and hope to Northern Uganda.”