The peoples of Uganda have a distinct tie to the land, and their cultures have generation upon generation that tended to create with care and respect. But the land and its creatures that we so deeply depend on are suffering, and in need of help. And while the Church has engaged in aspects of creation care, most Christians do not understand the connection between caring for God’s creation and their faith. Through education, practical projects, advocacy, and much more, A Rocha Uganda seeks to guide the Church in Uganda towards a more integrated gospel and a more unified engagement in caring for creation.
We’ve discovered a few wonderful exceptions. For example, in the highlands of Western Uganda, a part of the country that deeply experienced the gospel revival, we’ve observed good practices in caring for land. In their banana plantations, we saw that the terraces which reduce erosion of the hilly land had been mulched. This helps the soil maintain nutrients and improves soil biodiversity amongst other benefits. It is hard to tell if the farmers have made an intentional spiritual association between these good farming practices and the gospel, or if this arose out of necessity due to the steep slopes, population pressure, or deforestation among other reasons. One study indicated that perhaps the decision was influenced by the level of education available in the area.
We began to engage more directly with pastors. Initially a few questioned the biblical foundations of our work. Others saw it as another program that would burden the church. We have also seen churches making tremendous efforts. However, some of these are uncoordinated, and they hardly document what they’ve done which keeps others from learning from it.
Sometimes intentions do not align with scientific knowledge, and they do more harm than good. Other times, churches may be doing great creation care work, and we should expect this given that Uganda has an agriculture-based economy. But most have not correlated the gospel with why they should be caring for creation.
If you would like to read more about this article written by our National Director Dr. Sara Kaweesa, on the Church in Uganda and creation care, visit https://missionexus.org/creation-care-and-the-gospel-in-uganda/