Janani Luwum (d. 1977)

Mark Fackler

READ : Daniel 3:8-18

“We will not serve your gods.” (v. 18)

Janani Luwum, leader of the Anglican Church of Uganda, was killed by the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin on February 16, 1977. That same year the Christian church in Uganda marked 100 years of ministry.

Janani Luwum was ordained in 1956, while Uganda was still a protectorate of Great Britain. Active in the East African Revival, Janani is remembered as one who always told his congregations, “God does not have grand-children; He only has sons and daughters.” By these words he urged people to have a living personal relationship with God through Jesus. The East African Revival also taught that God is never absent, no matter how difficult life becomes. When Luwum was accused of treason—with death sure to follow—he replied to Amin, “We must see the hand of God in this.”

Luwum’s trouble started when he began criticizing the gross human rights abuses of the Amin regime, including public executions, disappearances, and expulsions. Very few critics of Idi Amin, other than those who fled for their lives, survived his eight-year reign of terror.

After Luwum was killed, his family and some bishops fled the country. The church itself continued under intense persecution until April 1979 when the regime fell to a combined force of Ugandan rebels and Tanzanian troops.

PRAYER

Give me courage to speak your word, Lord.