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Wrong William Nagenda?

William Nagenda


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Background Information

Employment History

Clerk In the Protectorate Government

Entebbe Municipal Council




Church of Uganda



King's College


University College of Makerere

Gayaza High School

Web References(2 Total References)

The man who quickly emerged as the leader of this group was a 28-year-old Muganda working at Gahini, William Nagenda.
He was the brother-in law of both Nsibambi and the late Kigozi and he had inherited the mantle of Kigozi as leader of revival at Gahini. Nagenda, like Nsibambi, came from a high status family in Buganda. His father, Festo Mnyangenda, had been one of the Regents during the minority of Kabaka Cwa, and he was an important landowner. Nagenda went to Budo and became a clerk in the Protectorate government at Entebbe. Dismissed for financial irregularities, he underwent a moral crisis and, under Nsibambi's influence was converted in 1936. He went off to work at Gahini, where he soon became an indispensable companion to Joe Church on his evangelistic safaris, travelling not only around Uganda, but also as far as Nairobi and the southern Sudan. Totally at ease in the company of Europeans, fluent in English, sophisticated and with a boundless self-confidence, he did not fit easily into the usual type of Mukono ordinand, described by one missionary rather unkindly as "dull and heavy and beyond the stage when they can respond to intelligent teaching"! [15] Nagenda soon became the acknowledged leader of a small, tightly-knit group of saved people, numbering about 40 (perhaps a third of the theological students). At least one missionary had talked of Nagenda as a potential Bishop. The "rebels" hoped that Bishop Stuart (who had been out of the country when the crisis broke) would support them and enable them to return with dignity and finish their studies - some, inc1uding Nagenda, were within a month of finishing their course and being ordained as deacons. Namutamba became a base for William Nagenda. Nagenda became convinced that God was calling him to a ministry as a free evangelist without the constraints of being an ordained minister. He never, wavered in this conviction. In this he was following the pattern pioneered by his mentor Nsibambi, who had given up a paid job to be an evangelist. The other event which sabotaged Bishop Stuart's aim of getting the rebels to repent and return was the strong support given to the rebels by a group of Ugandan and Missionary Balokole meeting at Kabale in December 1941. Nagenda was himself present at this meeting, which issued a strongly worded Memorandum in support of the stand of the Balokole at Mukono: "We are unanimously convinced that the "Mukono incident" was unwisely handled and that the students were not in any true sense "rebels". It is worth pausing to examine the forces ranged in opposition to Nagenda and his colleagues, and to the whole manifestation of revival as it had began at Gahini. The fact that so many of the leaders - Nsibambi, Nagenda, Sabiiti himself, later Kivengere, came from the ruling elite of society, and identified with that elite even when critical of it, and with the Anglican church establishment, is one important reason why the Balokole in Uganda did not form their own Church. Nagenda, who might well have become a Bishop, never did get ordained. But despite his charismatic personality which could undoubtedly have become the focus for a new church, he remained to the end a member of the Church of Uganda. [29] From the beginning Nsibambi and Nagenda were the dominant personalities, at the center. This led Nsibambi and Nagenda to seek some experience which would enable them to overcome this problem. In 1944 while on a retreat in Toro, they achieved the experience they so earnestly desired. They returned claiming to have conquered the Old Man. Back at Namutamba, Nagenda urged others to seek this experience. But for Nagenda the new doctrine produced increasing strain as he tried to cope with the burdensome necessity of continuing to proclaim his complete victory over sin and his awareness of the reality of his need daily to fight temptation. Soon he began to see that the whole experience had been a delusion. He made open confession to the brethren and turned his back resolutely against any search for a "second blessing" to add to the only important blessing of being saved by the blood of Christ. More significant was the fact was that the opposition to Okufuba (striving) became the touchstone for orthodoxy among the Ugandan brethren, and the focus for a series of conflicts, which were also bound up with the personal authority of the leadership, particularly of William Nagenda. Nagenda interpreted this as an attempt to get beyond the brokenness of the Cross, to re-introduce Old Man doctrines and striving by the back door. Many detected behind Lubulwa's criticisms a personal animosity against Nagenda, a jealousy of Nagenda's growing international career as an evangelist. Usher Wilson had taught Nagenda at Budo and found him altogether too arrogant. Alternatively they were called Strivers, referring to the original dispute with Nagenda and the Balokole of Buganda. In trying to assess William Nagenda, he confided these reflections to his journal: "He seems to be a terribly insensitive person to any approach to God other than his own. In the 1940s and 50s, Nagenda, with Nsibambi in the background, managed to keep a fairly tight control over the majority of Balokole in Uganda. In the 1950s the Balokole gradually became a more respectable group and more integrated into the life of the Church. But this brought a feeling among some of the brethren that a worldliness was creeping in, a falling away from the fire and enthusiasm and commitment of the earlier period. Nsibambi, who lived in a kind of semi-retirement but who had still an enormous influence, began a new search for holiness and to revive Blasio's old battle cry of "Zukuka" - Awake! In the 1960s this search for a reawakening came to be expressed in conflicts over dress and fashion, about whether brethren should take out loans and become burdened with debt in order to improve their material standard of living. Some of this dissatisfaction began to focus on Nagenda. He had become an international figure, leading missions to other parts of Africa, to Europe and as far afield as India and Brazil. To many of the brethren he seemed to be estranged from his home base and from the sharply-focused morality of the Balokole, with their absolute standards rigidly enforced. A Muganda from a relatively poor family, Nagenda had helped Mondo by giving him land at Kawempe (just north of Kampala). Many brethren explain Mondo's growing estrangement from Nagenda as jealousy on the part of Mondo, who was consistently thwarted in his desire to go to preach in England. By this time Nagenda was mortally sick with Parkinson's disease, and was spending long periods outside the country in Oxford. 15. Details of Nagenda's early life are scattered in JCP, especially File: William Nagenda: A Short Appreciation. For the comment on Mukono ordinands cf. CMS. G3 A7/0-1929. [cached]

William Nagenda was born into a large family and his father Festo Manyangenda was a respected Muganda chief who lived on Namirembe hill, Kampala, Uganda.
After primary school in Kampala, he attended King's College, Budo, from whence he went on to gain a diploma at the University College of Makerere before it was granted university status. His excellent knowledge of English gained him a post in the government's office at Entebbe. Brought up in a Christian home, William early decided to be a missionary to the Congo, but he knew that his faith was a sham. Outwardly successful in his work, his personal life took a downward turn. He came into contact with Simeoni Nsibambi, and the Lord Jesus Christ, about whom he had learned a great deal, became, for him a reality. So much so that a brief story of his life was entitled: William Nagenda - A lover of Jesus. William married Sala, daughter of Erasto Bakaluba, a member of staff of King's College, Budo. Soon after his conversion, William approached the Bishop of Uganda and offered himself for full-time service in the church. As a preparation for ordination training, William was offered a teaching post in a school at Gahini, Rwanda. William experienced the reviving power of God. Because of his great energy, quiet sincerity, penetrating spiritual analysis of situations and gentle preaching, he played a leading role in teams of witness and conventions organised throughout East Africa. In 1940, William entered the Theological College at Mukono, Uganda, for ordination training. Due to a situation which all recognised later as being unfortunate, the zeal of some thirty students was mistaken for a revolt and they, including William, were expelled. From then onwards, William became an evangelist centred at a Christian tea-plantation, Namutamba. In 1946, William was invited to England to join Rev. Yosiya Kinuka and Dr. Joe Church in a tour of witness following their involvement in the East Africa Revival. For the next eighteen years, William, usually with Dr. Joe Church, visited many countries in Europe, the Americas and India. In 1964, William began to show signs of the illness, at that time diagnosed as "premature senility" which progressively made public engagements impossible. In the later part of his life, he would begin a talk, but it was Sala who carried on God's message through them, not just him. William left an enduring legacy in the lives of numerous people of many different nationalities who had cause to thank God for "William - a lover of Jesus." Dr. J. E. Church, William Nagenda - a lover of Jesus. William Nagenda

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