Today we are remembering and celebrating the life and influence of Reverend Desmond McBride. In 2006 the congregation of the church decided to do something in remembrance of Reverend Desmond McBride. After much discussion and consultation with the Congregation, Session, Marilyn McBride and Brian Dorman of Africare it was decided to fund the building of a church in Uganda.
The Sesse Islands
The Sesse Islands are a group of some 80 islands found in the northwest corner of Lake Victoria within Ugandan waters. Not all of these islands are inhabited and many of them are privately owned. ECM has been working in some of the most remote places on the eastern islands of the Sesse group for the past 10 years.
ECM is supported by Africare and through both of these organisations churches and schools have been built on Java, Bubekke, Bukassa and Ntuwa, spreading the good news of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Like all the islands in the Sesse group, the inhabitants are an interesting mix of Africans from all over east Africa. They come to these islands to catch fish, which are sold all over eastern Africa. The vast majority of the islands are terribly undeveloped, even by African standards. There are only 2 health centres, one policeman and one Reverend to heal, police and minister to the people spread out over the 80 islands.
Buyange Island is found between Bubekke and Bukassa islands. ECM had identified it as one of the neediest in the Sesse island group.
The 600 people who live on Buyange, live in huts made of wood or makeshift tents. There were no brick buildings, no church, no school, no health centre and only one shop which sells only the basic essentials. Sickness often leads to death as it costs so much to go and get medicine. Aids/HIV is massively prevalent as there is no education or understanding of the virus. With so many men coming to fish the waters of Lake Victoria, away from their families and earning good money, prostitutes unfortunately follow spreading the virus further. It is estimated that up to 80% of the people, on some of the islands, suffer from Aids/HIV.
Patrick Wakkonyi who is the director of ECM in Uganda approached the owners of Buyange Island to investigate the possibility of building a permanent church on their island. Amazingly they agreed, as there was no church owned land like on some of the other islands. They did not give the land away however, but asked for a payment of 150,000 Ugandan Shillings which when converted into Sterling equates to about £60!