Bristol Uganda Link

The Link began in 1969 through the friendship of two people, the Archbishop of Uganda, The Very Reverend Erica Sabiti, and the then Bishop of Bristol, The Right Reverend Oliver Tomkins, whose son Stephen was then teaching in Uganda.

It has always been seen as a partnership of two Anglican Churches, sharing friendship in Christ across the world, through mutual prayer, support and continuing understanding of one another, thus opening up our concept of the world-wide Church of Christ. 

The relationship has been marked by a shared joy in each other and many lasting friendships have developed. This relationship has been primarily developed through our established Deanery to Diocese Links.

These links have never been a fundraising venture, or a competitor to mission agencies. The focus has always been based in friendship rather than charity.

We aim to work under our Constitution and within the partnership guidelines drawn up by Partnership for World Mission, the body which brings together the General Synod and the mission agencies of the Church of England.

View images of past trips to Uganda

Changing times

In recent times this partnership is undergoing a rethink, in view of the Archbishop Kaziimba’s endorsement of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Our response as a diocese to cherish the human relationships we have nurtured in Uganda, whilst reviewing our institutional links with Anglican church in that country is the right response to our Christian calling to love one another, as Christ first loved us.

Bishop Viv has spoken out about the Church of Uganda’s support for the new law: “For 50 years, the Diocese of Bristol has nurtured enduring friendships within the Church of Uganda, to reflect the love of Christ across the world through mutual prayer, support and understanding. We have been blessed by these relationships and have every confidence they can be sustained in local communities across Uganda. For the time being the Diocesan Link Committee will cease to meet and the Diocese will be reviewing all institutional links – current and prospective – at the next Bishop’s Council in December.”

Keep up to date on news about the Uganda Link

A brief history of the Church in Uganda

The church in Uganda began in the late 19th century after a group of missionaries sailed to Uganda in 1876 in response to Stanleys 1875 letter in the Daily Telegraph appealing for volunteers to spread the gospel in Uganda.

18 March 1882, saw the first baptism of Anglican converts and a few years later, on 31 January 1885, three young men were martyred for their faith. Marko Kakumba, Nuwa Serwanga and Yusufu Lugalama died at Busegampimerebera. 
In October, the same year Bishop James Hannington was also killed, just before the first printing of the Gospel of Matthew in Luganda. 

Over the following two years a total of 23 Anglican and 22 Roman Catholic believers were martyred. They are commemorated at the two shrines in Namugongo.

•   1892 Namirembe Cathedral was built, and by 1896 the whole of the bible had been translated into Luganda.
•   1897 the Diocese of Uganda was formed, and the following year Bishop Tucker Theological College was opened at Mukono.
•   1966 four years after Independence the Most Rev. Erica Sabiti was enthroned as the first Ugandan Archbishop.
•   1974 The Most Rev. Janani Luwum was enthroned as Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire until his murder in February 1977.

The next decade marked a terrible chapter in Uganda’s history, but the church continued to grow and develop with many new dioceses being formed, a pattern of growth that has continued until the present day.

More information on the history of the Nation

You may also find it useful to visit some of these links for up-to-date news from Ugandan papers and magazines:
•   The New Vision - This is one of the two main national newspapers. Originally founded in 1955 as the Uganda Argus, its latest incarnation was established by the Uganda Government in 1986.
•   The Daily Monitor - is the second of the two main national newspapers and is the leading independent publication.
•   My Uganda - is a website that gives up to date information about developments across a wide sphere of Ugandan life.
•   The Eye Magazine topical magazine giving loads of great info about whats on in Uganda, useful maps, articles, etc. well worth a visit!

Link Co-ordinator

The link coordinator for the Diocese is Revd. Chris Dobson. If you are considering a visit to Uganda or would like advice, information or guidance about any part of our historic Link with Uganda. or call 0117 906 0100

For press enquiries, please email

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