Educational Trip To Uganda: The Common Good Initiative

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Over fall break I had the opportunity to lead students on a trip through Uganda as part of the Common Good Initiative. The Common Good Initiative brings graduate students together from a wide range of disciplines to reflect on the intersection between their academic studies and social justice. Our trip to Uganda was titled, “Women, The Church, and the Ecology of the Common Good.”

Students spent time in Entebbe, Jinja, Kampala, Namugongo, Luweero, and Masaka and had the opportunity to meet with female leaders, visit the shrines of Ugandan martyrs, and spend time at the Bethany Land Institute. Through participating in this journey through Uganda, centred on the themes of women, the church, and ecology, I had the opportunity to engage deeply with students about what it means to live out the common good in our world.

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Book Launch: Born from Lament & The Journey of Reconciliation

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On October 3rd, Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute and the department of theology co-sponsored a book launch in celebration of my two most recent books Born from Lament: The Theology and Politics of Hope in Africa and The Journey of Reconciliation: Groaning for a New Creation in Africa.

The day began with a workshop on Born From Lament which I co-facilitated with William Cavanaugh from De Paul University. Seventeen graduate students attended the workshop and together we explored central themes from the book including the narrative dimension of the work, insights illuminated by lament, and the kind of action that the faith activists described in the book call us to.

In the evening we gathered for the official launch. Scott Appleby, the director of the Keough School of Global Affairs, Tim Matovina, the theology department chair, and William Cavanaugh, director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at De Paul University, each presented their personal reflections on the books. I concluded the conversation by sharing my personal journey from Malube, Uganda to my work and research at Notre Dame University.

After the launch guests were invited to stay and enjoy appetizers and conversation.

For more details visit:http://kroc.nd.edu/news-events/events/2017/10/03/book-launch-two-books-on-christian-social-imagination/

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February – May 2017: A Spring full of Gifts

This continues to be a spring filled with events and gifts to celebrate on many fronts, among others:

February 2017:
Being named as Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology. The fellowship will allow me to take a year off from teaching (Jan – Dec 2018) to focus on my research on “Who are My People?”, which will allow me to do research on various exemplars of social love in response to ethnic, religious and ecological forms of violence in Africa.

A number of significant lectures including:
February 9, 2017:
The 2017 Payne Lecture and keynote address for Black History Month at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin (Feb 9), and an opportunity to visit with my seminary friend Fr. Isidore Ndagizimana, now pastor of the vibrant parish of St. Thomas More Catholic Church: https://www.stmaustin.org/welcome/pastors-welcome

February 20-22, 2017:
The 2017 Henry Martyn Lectures in World Christianity at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, with the opening night attended by among others, the Uganda High Commission to the UK, Dr. Joyce Kikafunda; In the three evening lecture series, I outlined my next research project, “Who are My People”.

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March 5-12, 2017:
A Keynote address on “Theology Research Matters” at the Christianity and Social Change in Contemporary Africa, a Templeton funded conference of Africa Scholars hosted by the Nagel Institute in the Study of Christianity Worldwide at Abidjan, Ivory Cost.

March 30, 2017:
St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame Indiana, speaking in the 2017 Distinguished Lecture series on “Called to Intervene: Violence, Spirituality and Solidarity.”

April 8-11, 2017:
Hosting Maggy Barankitse, and introducing her to the Notre Dame community. Here are some pictures and links of her visit at Notre Dame.
The Courage of Giving Refuge Lecture

MaggyFor more on the leadership of this extraordinary woman who “love has made [] an inventor” see:

1. Opus Prize (7 mins)
2. Maison Shalom
3. Testimony before Pope Francis

A Holy Thursday Gift, April 13, 2017:
lamentWaiting for me at the front doorsteps, a box of ten copies of Born From Lament: The Theology and Politics of Hope in Africa! What an appropriate Easter gift for in Born from Lament I make the argument that the character of Christian hope is the surprising experience of resurrection in the midst of death, new life in context of suffering, joy and celebration in the midst of hardship!

May 6, 2017:
A beautiful baptism ceremony at Sacred Heart Church La Plata Maryland, of Godfrey Jude Ddungu Jr, followed by a reception at the Ddungus.

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Winter Break in Uganda: December 2016 – January 2017

December 28, 2016

A brief Christmas time in Uganda whose highlight was the family celebration of mother’s 91st birthday! See some pictures from the event:

January 5-8, 2017

Another highlight was a 3 day “Indaba” at Bethany House (Jan 5-8) with key leaders from East and Central Africa, on identity and violence in Africa, culminating in the witness at the Great Lake Initiative Institute of Fr. Bernard Kinvi.
Read and watch more about Fr. Kinvi’s extraordinary leadership during the “religious” violence in Central African Republic.

On the Bethany Land Institute (BLI) front, energy and momentum with the setting up of a BLI office in Luweero; the confirmation of our 501c3 in the United States, Sara Hohnestein’s (director of operations at Issachar Fund ) January visit, and the completion of the site mapping process by EMI, offering what promises to be a beautiful campus. See pictures below.

Site Overview

Masterplan

Masterplan

Guesthouses

Commons & Dorms

Fall 2016

September 8-9, 2016:

A vision casting meeting for Bethany Land Institute at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont, IL (near O’Hare) launches the Bethany Land Institute into a new phase.
The event also serves as the first board meeting of the newly registered BLI USA, which culminates in a gift of $100,000 matching grant challenge from an anonymous family foundation!

Soon after, EMI led team of engineers begin site mapping process at BLI land in Uganda

October 13-20, 2016:

Family Matters! A wonderful time with Joe during his annual US visit with a week here in South Bend; and an addition to the family (October 11) with the birth of Godfrey Jude Ddungu to nephew Godfrey and wife Lucy, joining William and Gabriella: Congratulations!